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Prepping your vehicle
for storm chasing season
If you're anything like me, you just can't wait to get out and begin the storm chasing season. But even if you're reran' to go, is your vehicle? Most people with half a brain know that safety is very important when it comes to storm chasing. However, a lot of folks ignore the thing that takes them there in the first place, sometimes to their chagrin.
Unless you have a strong desire to be stranded out in the middle of nowhere while storm chasing, take the time to make certain that your vehicle is ready to go. Before you think I'm standing up in the soapbox to preach at you, hold on a second. These tips come from my own 20+ years of chasing experience, some of which weren't all that pleasant. If you'd like a list of things that went haywire while storm chasing at the most inopportune time, here goes: Radiator, cooling fan, fuel pump, serpentine belt, flat tire, transfer case, and transmission. Now, that might not sound like many, but even one is too much when you're storm chasing between Wakita and Enid, Oklahoma!
So in order to minimize the potential trouble when on the road storm chasing, I take my vehicle into the car dealer in March, and have them inspect the following:Tires, belts, hoses, radiator, water pump, battery, alternator, and fuel system. I also have my transmission serviced at that time as well. A general tune-up is performed also. If you own a SUV or 4 wheel drive, it's not a bad idea to have them take a look at your transfer case as well, just to be on the safe side.
Now's also a good time to think about carrying an emergency kit in your primary storm chasing vehicle. I like to have a first aid kit, tire sealant, jumper cables, and a small tool box with me when I'm on the road. A friend of mine carries a 12 volt air compressor with him, just in case.
A little pre-season preparation before going storm chasing could save a lot of heartache later on!
Matt Ver Steeg
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