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Las Vegas drivers, get your car (and tires) in shape for 2019

As the new year begins, transportation officials are urging all motorists to ensure their vehicles are running in tiptop shape.

Though Las Vegas doesn’t see the extreme weather some states experience, such as snow or sleet, there are a few areas of concern for area motorists.

“For most Las Vegas residents, the biggest items to be careful about are your tires and batteries for day-to-day driving,” said Michael Blasky, AAA Nevada spokesperson. “The huge temperature changes in Las Vegas really can do funky things to your tire pressure, and the last thing you want to do on your 6 a.m. commute in 30-degree weather is blow a tire on Interstate 15 or U.S. Highway 95.

“If you do break down on the highway, AAA recommends trying to get to an exit ramp if possible. Safety should be the primary concern of motorists,” he said.

Here are the recommended checkups motorists should conduct on their vehicles.

Tire care: Tires are among the most problematic vehicle features for area motorists. Replacing any tire with less than 3/32 inches of tread is recommended. Uneven wear can be caused by alignment, wheel balance or suspension issues that must be addressed to prevent further harm.

Checking tire inflation pressure on all four tires and the spare more frequently in winter in encouraged. As the temperature drops, so will tire pressure — typically by one PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit, according to AAA. Proper levels can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker typically located on the driver’s side door jamb.

Battery care: Motorists should have their battery and charging system tested by a trained technician. A fully charged battery in good condition is needed to start an engine in cold weather.

It’s also recommended that battery cables and terminals be inspected. Ensure the battery terminals and cable ends are free from corrosion and the connections are tight.

Drive belt inspection: Inspecting the underside of accessory drive belts for cracks or fraying is also recommended. Many newer multi-rib “serpentine” belts are made of materials that do not show obvious signs of wear. Replacing them at 60,000-mile intervals is encouraged, AAA said.

Inspect cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Replace any hoses that are brittle or have an excessively spongy feel.

Air filter: Check the engine air filter by holding it up to a 60-watt light bulb. If light is blocked by most of the filter, replace it.

Fluid levels: Check the coolant level of a vehicle in the overflow tank when the engine is cold. If the level is low, adding a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability is recommended. Motorists should check their antifreeze protection level annually with affordable testers available at most auto parts stores.

Filling the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that contains antifreeze components is encouraged. Transmission, brake and power steering fluids should all be at or above the minimum safe levels.

Lights: Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and back-up lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs.

Wiper blades

The wiper blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots.

Brakes: If there is any indication of a brake problem, have the system inspected by a certified technician to ensure all components are working properly.

Oso Blanca closure in northwest

Oso Blanca Road between Grand Teton Drive and Gilcrease Avenue in northwest Las Vegas will close from 7 a.m. Monday until 6 p.m. Friday, the Nevada Department of Transportation announced.

The temporary closure is needed for placement of underground flood control as part of a $78 million, six-mile-long widening and upgrade of U.S. Highway 95 between Ann and Kyle Canyon roads that broke ground in January 2018.

The project calls for widening the highway from four to six lanes from Durango Drive to Kyle Canyon Road, constructing Elkhorn Road carpool access ramps and building a diverging diamond interchange at Kyle Canyon Road that temporarily shifts traffic to the left side of the road, thereby keeping traffic flowing through two pairs of unimpeded left turns onto and off the freeway.

Other project details include placing decorative rock, erecting signage and lighting and installing storm drainage. Construction is scheduled to finish in the fall.

Sewer work in southwest valley

Sewer work being carried out by the Clark County Water Reclamation District will affect traffic for several months beginning today.

Initial work will take place at the Warm Springs Road and Jones Boulevard intersection during nighttime hours for one week. During this phase the right-most northbound and southbound lanes on Jones Boulevard will remain open for travel. There will then be one day of work at the Robindale Road intersection.

Work will then occur along Jones Boulevard, beginning at Warm Springs Road and heading south toward Robindale Road for the duration of the project. Traffic will be shifted to the west half of Jones, with one lane of traffic open in each direction.

Most work will occur Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. with traffic restrictions remaining in place while work is not occurring.

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