AAA Mid-Atlantic: A Drop in Temps Signal Winter is Around the Corner
Fall is a good time to prepare your vehicle for cold weather.
PHILADELPHIA, PA (Oct. 15, 2018) October is Car Care Month, and with overnight temperatures expected to dip into the 30’s in some parts of the region this week, AAA is reminding motorists that now is an ideal time for a seasonal checkup of key vehicle systems to ensure worry-free driving once cold weather and winter conditions arrive.
October is the perfect month to make sure your vehicle is winter ready. The weather is mild, and there is plenty of time to deal with the potentially costly repairs before winter weather sets in.
“No one wants to talk about cold weather this early in the season, but it’s a far better conversation than the one you might have if your car is stranded on the side of the road once temperatures drop,” says Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AA Mid-Atlantic. “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.”
Vehicle owners should read the maintenance requirements set by the car’s manufacturer in the owner’s manual. There is no longer a “standard” maintenance schedule for vehicle services. Each automaker has different requirements, making the owner’s manual the most accurate resource. In-vehicle maintenance reminders provide good guidance because they account for real-time problems and how you actually drive. However, many reminder systems do not specifically cover maintenance operations that need to be performed on a time or mileage basis – such as brake fluid and coolant flushes or timing-belt replacement.
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: 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: Examine tires for tread depth, uneven wearing and cupping. Check tire pressures once a month when tires are cold, before driving for any distance. Drivers can check the air pressure in their tires and add air for free at Miami Valley area AAA Car Care Centers.
- 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.
- Exhaust: Have your mechanic check the exhaust system for leaks and look for any holes in the trunk and floorboards.
- 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: Inspect all lights and bulbs and replace burned out bulbs. Clean road grime or clouding from lenses.
To help drivers prepare for winter, AAA is offering free preventative maintenance checks, battery checks and tire pressure checks at AAA Car Care Centers in the Philadelphia 5-county area for AAA members and non-members:
- Clifton Heights
- South Philadelphia
- West Chester
- Willow Grove
- Marlton and Mt. Laurel, NJ
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7777 Brewster Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19159
AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Pennsylvania. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.