Winter Car Care Checklist

The end of daylight savings is here, marking the beginning of winter.  While many of you are using this day to sleep in an extra hour, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering, Greg Brannon distinguishes this day as a critical time for people to check vehicle systems and perform any important maintenance needed before winter arrives.  Last year, AAA responded to more than 29 million calls for roadside assistance reporting that millions of those breakdowns could have been preventable with basic vehicle maintenance.

Prepare your vehicle for winter driving; using this checklist:

¨  Battery Life– A typical battery life should last three to five years but may be shorter if driven in high temperatures or extreme cold.  In fact, a fully charged battery has less than half its potential starting power when temperatures drop to zero degrees Fahrenheit.  Watch for dim headlights and interior lights since these are warning signs of a low battery.  You can test out your car’s battery life by taking it into a car dealership for a free battery checkup.

¨  Battery Corrosion– Corrosion can prevent a car from starting just as much as a worn-out battery.  You can check for corrosion by opening the hood and looking at the battery for crusted white residue.  If corrosion is found, take a brush and clean off the battery with a solution of baking soda and water.

¨  Windshield Wipers– Check to make sure that wiper blades can completely clear the windshield glass with each swipe.  Replace any blade that leaves streaks or missed spots. Windshield wiper blades should be replaced at least once per year.

¨  Tire pressure– Tire pressures drop when temperature drops during the winter.  For every ten degrees dropped in temperature, the tire pressure drops approximately 1 PSI.    Proper tire pressure levels differ for each car and can be checked by looking in the owner’s car manual.

¨  Tire Tread– With all the ice and snow on the roads, winter traction is important.  Check your tires tread depths.  Replace any tire that has less than 3/32 inches of tread.

¨  Washer Fluid– Check levels and fill windshield washer fluid with a winter cleaning solution.  The solution should include an antifreeze to help keep it from freezing during the winter.

¨  Lights– Check the lights and emergency lights for any burnt out bulbs.


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