AAA: Wintry Mix Heads to the Region – Time to Check Your Car and Pack Your Bag
Prepare Now for Cold Weather Car Care, Tricky Travel Conditions
PHILADELPHIA, PA (November 14, 2018) Winter makes a return to the Delaware Valley this week with freezing temperatures and a messy mix of precipitation -- rain, sleet and snow – in the forecast for Thursday. Though not a major storm, this wintry weather event is the first of the season and should serve as a warning for motorists to get their cars ready for winter driving, pack a vehicle emergency kit, and refresh their winter driving know-how.
“AAA recommends motorists have their cars checked out for winter driving, as preventative maintenance can help avoid more costly and inconvenient repairs later in the season,” says Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “A road ready car for winter also includes a vehicle emergency kit, packed now and there when you need it all winter long.”
To help drivers prepare for winter, Philadelphia 5 county area AAA Car Care Centers are offering free battery, tire and preventative maintenance checks to AAA member and non-members.
AAA Mid-Atlantic is also gearing up for cold-weather emergency calls, as motorists are more likely to experience dead car batteries or tire issues as the temperature drops. Last winter, AAA Mid-Atlantic roadside assistance crews rescued nearly 140,000 stranded members in the Philadelphia 5-county area.
“It will be all hands on deck at AAA so that we may respond to stranded motorists as quickly and safely as possible,” notes Tidwell. “No one ever plans on getting stranded so AAA encourages anyone with a car battery more than three years old to get it checked as temperatures drop.”
Get the Car 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: 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.
- 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.
- 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 all lenses.
Pack a Vehicle 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.
The emergency kit should include:
- Fully charged 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 (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, in the online store at AAA.com.
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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.