Not Just Bread and Milk
AAA Reminds Drivers that ‘Snow Preps’ include the Car
With temperatures dropping and snow in the forecast, AAA is reminding motorists that now is the time to make sure their vehicles are ready for winter.
“While people love to kid about the mad dash for milk and bread in advance of a storm, making sure your vehicle is prepared for winter is no laughing matter”, says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. “There is nothing funny about breaking down in cold, dark or snowy conditions”.
Last winter, AAA Emergency Rescue crews responded to more than 85,000 calls for help – just in the Greater Hartford area alone and almost half of those calls required a tow. And, AAA says, most of those calls could have been avoided with basic vehicle maintenance.
With that in mind, AAA is reminding motorists to get their cars winter road ready and prepare a Winter Emergency Kit (photo attached) in advance of Thursday’s storm.
AAA Tips for Getting Your Vehicle Winter Ready:
Harsh winter conditions make your vehicle work harder, particularly the charging and starting system, headlights, tires and windshield wipers. AAA recommends that motorists check the following vehicle systems:
- Battery: Have the battery checked by a professional to ensure it is strong enough to face cold weather. Most batteries last 3-5 years. AAA members can request a visit from a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician who will test their battery and replace it on-site, if necessary.
- Tires: Examine tires for tread depth, uneven wearing and cupping. Check tire pressures once a month when tires are cold, before driving for any distance.
- Engine: Have any engine drivability problems corrected at a good repair shop. Symptoms like hard starts, rough idling, stalling or diminished power could signal a problem that would be exacerbated by cold weather. Engine hoses and belts should be inspected for wear or cracking.
- Fluids: Important system fluids such as engine coolant/anti-freeze, transmission and brake fluid should be checked and changed at recommended intervals.
- Brakes: Inspect brakes as recommended in your owner’s manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, pulling, noises while braking or longer stopping distance. Correct minor brake problems promptly.
- Wipers: Replace worn windshield-wiper blades. Purchase one-piece beam-type or rubber-clad “winter” blades to fight snow and ice build-up. Use cold-weather windshield washer solvent and carry an ice-scraper.
- Lights: It is critical that all motorists can see and be seen. Inspect all lights and bulbs and replace burned out bulbs. Clean road grime or clouding from all lenses.
AAA Winter Emergency Kit:
Motorists are advised to prepare a winter emergency kit now and stow in the trunk of their vehicle to have it immediately available should the need arise. AAA warns, more than 40 percent of motorists do not carry an emergency kit in their vehicle (photo attached).
The emergency kit should include:
- Fully charged mobile phone pre-programmed with AAA rescue apps, AAA member information and important phone numbers including family and emergency services, and car charger
- Drinking water
- First-aid kit
- Non-perishable snacks for both human and pet passengers
- Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
- Snow shovel
- Extra warm clothing (coat, gloves, hats, scarves)
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Window washer solvent
- Ice scraper with brush
- Cloth or roll of paper towels
- Jumper cables
- Warning devices (flares or triangles)
- Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)
Many of the winter emergency items listed above – plus pre-assembled multi-item kits including the 73-piece Explorer Road Kit and 66-piece Winter Safety Road Kit – are available, at a discount to AAA members, at most of our AAA retailers and also through the online store at AAA.com.
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