Cold weather is upon us, which means it’s time for vehicle owners to take preventative steps to prevent one of the most common vehicle breakdowns.
Year after year, the top Roadside Assistance call AAA receives during the winter months is for dead batteries. According to data from this past winter, AAA East Central contractors jump-started 70,531 batteries and replaced 24,732.
A vehicle’s battery endures a lot of stress during the summer, and the heat from the sun is particularly damaging to its internal components. In the winter, that damage manifests in the form of a dead battery, particularly after cold snaps and long periods of leaving a vehicle idle.
AAA recommends that vehicle owners have their batteries and charging systems tested sooner rather than later, especially if their battery is more than three years old.
“With the winter months approaching, now is the time to make sure your battery is ready for the drastic temperature changes,” says Mike Hoshaw, vice president of automotive services at AAA East Central. “Having your battery tested during the fall season may prevent families from being stranded when adverse temperatures hit.”
More for your checklist
Tire Type and Tread: In areas with heavy winter weather, changing to snow tires on all four wheels will provide the best winter traction. Testing tire’s tread is easy: insert a quarter into a tread groove with the top of George Washington’s head facing down. If you can see the top of Washington’s head, it’s time to start shopping for new tires.
Tire Pressure: Typically, tire pressure decreases 1 PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit that the temperature drops, putting owners at risk for a flat tire. The proper tire pressure levels can be found on a sticker located on the driver’s side door jamb. (Don’t forget to check the spare!)
Wiper Blades: Replace blades that leave streaks or miss spots. In typically snowy areas, consider installing winter wiper blades that wrap the blade in a rubber boot to prevent ice and snow buildup that can prevent good contact with the glass.
Washer Fluid: Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a cleaning solution that has antifreeze components.
Coolant Levels: If your engine coolant level is low, add the recommended coolant to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability.
While most of the items on the list can be performed at home, several others should be performed by a certified technician. One way to identify a reliable, high-quality repair facility with certified technicians is to look for one that is AAA Approved. AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities undergo a comprehensive investigation and must meet stringent quality standards. Nearby shops can be quickly located at AAA.com/AutoRepair.
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 79 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members.