Monday, February 23, 2015

Black Ice: How to Spot This Winter Driving Danger

Black Ice: How to Spot This Winter Driving Danger
Kristen Rodman
By Kristen Rodman, Staff Writer

Winter brings many dangers for motorists, with one of the most threatening being slippery and hard-to-spot black ice.

"The biggest danger [with black ice] is that you are at the mercy of your vehicle and the ice until your car passes over it," Vice President and National Director of AARP Driver Safety Julie Lee said.

Black ice forms when the air is at 32 degrees or below at the surface and rain is falling, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Andrew Mussoline. The ground temperature causes the precipitation to freeze upon impact, thus creating ice. Sleet and the refreezing of snow or water can also generate black ice.

This type of ice gets its name from its ability to blend in with its surroundings.
"It's called black ice because it tends to look like the rest of the pavement on the road, but it's actually clear," Lee said. The complexion of black ice makes it extremely difficult to spot, but using a car thermometer as an initial gauge can be helpful in determining the road conditions.
A car thermometer, like any digital thermometer, tries to find the air's ambient temperature. So, if a vehicle's thermometer is close to freezing, the car driver should be cautious on the roads. While the sensors themselves are usually very accurate, their placement on a vehicle can make them less reliable.

Located outside the car, behind the front bumper, these sensors sometimes pick up heat from the car's engine, resulting in a higher temperature reading, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Frank Strait.

In addition, these thermometers can also read lower if rain water hits the sensors and evaporates while the car is at a higher speed.
Overall, car thermometers give relatively accurate readings, but for various reasons they can be incorrect, so they should not be used as the absolute authority, Strait said.

Due to the restrictions of a car's thermometers, the best way to know if roads are icy before heading out the door is to be aware of when, where and how black ice forms.
The prime times for the development of this ice are around dawn and in the late evening, when temperatures are typically the lowest. During the day, the best thing to do before getting in a vehicle is to take a look at the pavement.

"If the pavement is dry but you are seeing spots of pavement that look dark and glossy, that is probably going to be black ice," Lee said. Before getting on the roads at night, drivers should be informed of the area's weather conditions, as black ice is hardest to see in the dark, according to Lee.

The most common locations for the emergence of black ice are shaded or tree-covered parts of driveways and roadways due to the lack of sunlight and bridges and overpasses because of their ability to freeze quickly.

While driving on black ice is similar in some regards to driving on snow, the biggest difference between the two is the amount of traction the vehicle retains.
"With snow there its still some traction, whereas on ice there is no traction and that's where it becomes very dangerous," Lee said. Due to the lack of traction a car has on ice, the basic rule for driving on black ice is to stay calm and let the vehicle pass over it, according to Lee.

Tips to Stay Safe While Driving on Black Ice:

1. Do not hit the brakes, instead keep your steering wheel steady.
2. Lift your foot off the accelerator.
3. Do not overcorrect your steering if you feel your car sliding.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tips for cold, cold car care; (You're going to want to read this!)

As you may or may not know, here at Burdette Brothers we do more than just sell new and used trailers. We also sell used cars and have a wide variety of make and models to offer! 

With the below freezing temperatures here in Maryland, we wanted to share an article with you on tips for caring for your car in the cold wintry weather from the Chicago Tribune. Enjoy! 
And remember, if you are in the market for a used car for sale in Maryland and want to check out our showroom of vehicles, contact us today at:

Tips for cold, cold car care
Cars, like people, don’t function as well in cold weather. Your car doesn’t like it anymore than you. Because most employers frown on hibernating, we’ve compiled a list of precautions to increase the odds of your car functioning in extreme or unseasonable cold. 


If you don’t have time to visit the mechanic, there are some things you can do on your own to optimize your vehicle’s performance.

Battery power:

Change the battery. Mechanics recommend changing it every 3 years, though you could get away with 5 years, depending on how much you drive and how you drive. If you see a mechanic, have him or her check the battery and replace the spark plugs.

How to store your car for winter
Make sure the cables are not loose. With the engine off, see if the cables can slip free from the nodes. Don’t yank, but be firm. Tightening the nut is easy to do and can save you from a mid-drive battery loss that requires you to get out of the car and take off your gloves.

Check for corrosion. If there is a white powder, not unlike the dead skin of dried winter hands, around the nodes or the clamps then that could be a sign of corrosion. If you can’t get a new battery, then at least clean the nodes and clamps with baking soda, water and a toothbrush. Loosen the cables, clean the nodes and clamps, then dry it and retighten.

Under the hood:
While you’re there, check the status of your S belt, or serpentine belt. It’s the big one that is immediately visible at the front of the engine. The visible, or back side, has grooves like a tire. If they’re cracked or worn, then it might be time to consider changing it so it doesn’t snap in cold cold cold weather.   

Fill your fluids:
Spend a buck and get a “winter blend” type of windshield wiper fluid. Winter blends have a greater concentration of alcohol and less water, so less likely to freeze.

Fill your antifreeze. If it hasn’t been flushed in a few years, then it could use it. Green-colored antifreeze is the most common; whichever color you choose, don’t mix colors. Coolant and antifreeze are interchangeable terms. Coolant is typically sold premixed, that is it is half water, half antifreeze, as it needs to be. Antifreeze can be pure and needs to be mixed. Check the bottle; it’ll tell you.

Check your oil. If it’s due for a change, consider refilling it with a lower viscosity oil. On the bottle it lists two numbers, or grades, the first for low temperature viscosity, the second for high temperature. 10W-30 is a common designation. The higher the number, the more viscous, or thick it is, the less fluid it is especially in cold temps. So you might want to consider 5W-20 or-30. That ‘W’ stands for winter, according to Valvoline and other sources.

Visibility is key in all forms of driving, but winter conditions can limit visibility, and not just because of your faux-fur hood. If your blades have done just a mediocore job with the snow, it’s only going to get worse with the freeze. Winter wipers do a better job of swatting away moisture and can be had for under $20 for the pair.   

Tire pressure:
Having the correct tire pressure is essential for proper handling. A temperature change of just 10 degrees can cause a ten percent reduction, or constriction, of air in tires. So tire pressure can be affected from day to night temperature. Check the optimal tire pressure of your vehicle on the label inside the driver’s door frame or in the owner’s manual. DO NOT USE THE PSI on the TIRE! That’s max capacity for the tire, not for your car’s specific load.

Additional preventative measures:
Some mechanics recommend adding a can of Heet or other fuel-line antifreeze to the gas tank to eliminate water from the fuel lines. If your fuel lines are already frozen, this won’t help.

Buy an emergency kit with cables, first aid kit, flares, battery powered air compressor and other things that can prevent a minor inconvenience from becoming a major problem.

Check the clarity of all your lights. If your headlights are all fogged up, consider cleaning them with toothpaste. We haven’t tried this yet, but hear the results are magical.

Weather conditions are variable, and all cars handle them a bit differently, so as a car owner you have a responsibility to know your car. While this may not be legally advisable or practical in the current driving climate, consider finding a parking lot with no obstruction and practicing turns and braking in the conditions. Find out how the car reacts to your driving and adjust your driving accordingly. It shouldn’t be fun. Avoid doing cookies, but practice fishtailing to teach yourself how not to overcompensate by wrenching the wheel too far one way or the other. What level of acceleration might cause a spin out, how does the car turn in snow—all these things can be researched at minimal speeds.

Practice skids. If you’re in a skid, take it easy, don’t slam the brake; turn the wheel in the direction you want the vehicle to face, which you may have to do several times in a skid to straighten out. The most important thing is don’t freak out.


Battery care: The most common winter car malady is the battery not starting. How to prevent it if you’ve taken the preventative steps outlined above?

The number one thing you should do for the night is shut off all accessories—the heat, radio, interior lights—any power source that could be a drain for the battery.

If you don’t have access to a garage, try parking with the hood as near a building as possible to be shielded from the wind. Also, buildings are warmer than out in the open, and you’ll be warmer too.

You could go crazy and detach the battery and bring it inside with you every night, like a cat or something, but that’s pretty inconvenient, especially since you’ll have to reattach it in the equally cold morning.

You could make a battery snuggie overnight and cover the battery in a blanket, or even the entire hood, or buy a protective plastic sheet or tarp from an auto parts store. Just make sure you remember to take it off in the morning. You want the car warm, not on fire.

If the car doesn’t start after 15-20 seconds of trying, let the car sit for 2 minutes before trying again.

If you need a jump, please be careful. Check your owner’s manual at the very least. Or YouTube. Our rule is red to dead, black to ground. Connect the red cable to the positive node on the live battery, and then connect it to the dead node; then connect the black or negative to the live node and ground it on a piece of metal on the hood frame of the dead car. Let it run for two minutes, then give the dead car a start. Let it run a bit. Then reverse the process for removing the cables. Just don’t let the clamps touch; the spark can be shocking.   


Letting the car warm up is a comfort more for us than the car. Best practice is to start the car, then drive very simply until the oil gets heated. It’ll heat faster driving at slow speeds without sudden acceleration than just idling in your drive. In extreme cold, however, many professionals recommend idling for a minute or two. Idling for 10-15 minutes, as Midwesterners are prone to do, could dilute the oil with unburned fuel, resulting in increased engine wear. And it wastes gas.

Keep the front defroster cranked.

Clear all snow and ice from windshields and lights.  

If wiper fluid isn’t squirting and the reservoir is full, then you might need to replace the check valve. It’s a valve in the washer line to keep fluid in the lines. If it’s broke, then the fluid goes back into the reservoir and it might suck in snow or ice thru the nozzle into the line.  

Keeping the gas tank at half filled can help prevent a fuel line freeze; so can that fuel-line antifreeze mentioned earlier.

Lock freeze: 
Shooting WD-40 into the locks can help prevent them from freezing overnight but it can also gum up the tumblers. Some people prefer graphite, which is a dry powder that will not gum up, but that’s way more messy work. Several readers recommend a product called Tri-Flow, though we've been fortunate enough not to test it. Also, keeping the door’s gaskets lubed with silicone can keep the door from freezing to the frame. Consider buying a deicer and keeping it handy.

Stay warm. Your car wants you to. 

Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune (To see the original article, click here.) 

Monday, February 9, 2015


Good Morning!

Here on our lot in Hyattstown, Maryland we now have more Reiser trailers in stock and for sale now! Reiser Trailers offers innovative designs that will serve your needs for years to come.  Just some of the types of trailers for sale are: steel deck car hauler trailers, wood deck car hauler trailers, Equipment trailers, Tilt trailers, etc.  Be sure to come stop by Burdette Brothers lot and see them for yourself!  If you want to view our current selection on our website, click here!

Monday, February 2, 2015

The CornPro trailers are here!

Good Morning Everyone,

We are excited to announce that our new line has arrived! We now have some 2015 CornPro trailers in stock and ready for their new homes. We are thrilled to expand the brands we carry and have CornPro at Burdette. If you would like to come out and see these beauties in person, feel free to contact us at