With frigid weather rearing its head this week, The American Automobile Association is recommending motorists take measures to be prepared.
“Any cold snap, like the one that is currently making us shiver, results in an increase in calls to AAA for emergency roadside assistance as batteries fail and other car components that are on their last leg are unable to withstand the stress of the below freezing temperatures,” Holly Dalby, AAA Tidewater Virginia spokeswoman said in a prepared statement. “No one wants to be stranded in the cold by a vehicle breakdown.”
“Properly preparing your vehicle for winter driving is essential for the safety of all passengers and will greatly decrease the chances of your vehicle letting you down,” Dalby added.
AAA suggests the following steps to avoid getting caught out in the cold:
- Have the battery and charging system tested by a trained technician.
- Make sure battery terminals and cable ends are free from corrosion, and connections are tight.
- All-season tires work well in light to moderate snow conditions provided they have adequate tread depth — replace any tire that has less than 3/32-inches of tread. Be aware uneven tire wear can indicate alignment, wheel balance or suspension problems that should be addressed. If you do travel to locations with heavy winter weather conditions, snow tires provide the best winter traction.
- As the average temperature drops, so will tire pressures – so check often. Proper tire pressure levels can be found in your owner’s manual or on a sticker typically located on the driver’s side door jamb — and don’t forget the spare.
- Check the coolant level in the overflow tank when the engine is cold. If the level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability. You can test the antifreeze protection level with an inexpensive tester available at any auto parts store.
- Check all headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and back-up lights — replace any burnt out bulbs.
- Wiper Blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe — replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots.
- Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a solution that has antifreeze components to prevent freezing.
- If there is any indication of a brake problem, have the system inspected by a certified technician.
- Check all fluids — transmission, brake and power steering — to ensure they are at or above minimum safe levels.
- Carry an emergency kit equipped for winter weather, including sand, salt, cat litter or traction mats; a snow shovel; a flashlight with extra batteries; window washer solvent; an ice scraper with brush; cloth or roll of paper towels; jumper cables; extra warm clothing; blankets; warning devices; drinking water; non-perishable snacks (for humans and pets); first-aid kit; basic toolkit; and a mobile phone and car charger pre-programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers including family and emergency services.
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