HARTFORD, CT (October 28, 2020) – AAA is expecting more than 60,000 emergency rescue calls this winter – just in the Greater Hartford area alone – calls that may be more complicated because of COVID-19. With that in mind, and with the first mention of snow in the forecast, AAA is reminding motorists that now is the time to make sure your vehicle is winter-road ready so you won’t find yourself stranded roadside, with few options to maintain social distancing.
“There’s a reason that October is Car Care Month,” says Eileen Chesney, Manager of the AAA Car Care Center in Southington. “You don’t want to wait until you’re stuck in the snow or your battery dies in the cold of winter. We’ve already had a number of customers in for their winter checkups and we want to encourage others to do the same."
AAA recommends motorists use a simple checklist to determine their vehicle’s fall and winter maintenance needs. Many of the items on the list can be inspected by a car owner in less than an hour, but others should be performed by a certified technician.
The AAA Car Care in Southington is providing free winter checkups for members and non-members alike or… motorists can identify reliable, high-quality repair shops with certified technicians by looking for the AAA Approved Auto Repair sign. These facilities must meet and maintain high professional standards for customer service, technician training, tools, equipment, warranties and cleanliness. Nearby shops can be located at AAA.com/repair.
Harsh winter conditions make your vehicle work harder, particularly the charging and starting system, headlights, tires and windshield wipers. AAA recommends that motorists:
- Battery: clean any corrosion from battery posts and cable connections and wash all surfaces with battery terminal cleaner or a solution of baking soda and water. Have the battery checked by a professional to ensure it is strong enough to face cold weather. 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. AAA Approved Auto Repair shops can also test and replace weak batteries.
- Tires: a healthy tread is critical, especially when roads may be wet or slippery. Examine tires for tread depth, uneven wearing and cupping. Check tire pressures once a month when tires are cold, before driving for any distance. In extreme climates, a set of winter snow tires may be a wise investment.
- Replace worn windshield-wiper blades. If your climate is harsh, 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.
- Inspect all lights and bulbs and replace burned out bulbs. Clean road grime or clouding from all lenses.
- 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.
- Have your mechanic check the exhaust system for leaks and look for any holes in the trunk and floorboards.
- Carry an emergency kit equipped for winter weather.
This year, that kit should include extra masks for you and any passengers, should you need to call for roadside assistance.
Other Emergency Roadside Kit items include:
- Mobile phone pre-programmed with rescue apps 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 (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)