AAA Names October “Car Care Month”

Wednesday, October 12, 2016
GoLocalWorcester News Team

AAA is reminding drivers that October is the best time to take cars for a checkup before the winter weather arrives. 

“Whether you’re expecting colder temperatures, snow, rain or simply a little less sunshine, regular maintenance and seasonal checkups can help prevent unexpected repair costs. Properly preparing your vehicle for the next season of driving is essential for the safety of all passengers and will greatly decrease the chances of your vehicle letting you down,” said John Paul, Senior Manager of Traffic Safety for AAA Northeast and the auto club’s Car Doctor. 

AAA recommend the following car care checklist: 

Battery and Charging System - Have the battery and charging system tested by a trained technician. A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather.

Battery Cables and Terminals - Make sure the battery terminals and cable ends are free from corrosion and the connections are tight.

Tire Type and Tread - In areas with heavy winter weather, snow tires on all four wheels will provide the best winter traction. All-season tires work well in light to moderate snow conditions provided they have adequate tread depth. Replace any tires that have less than 3/32 inches of tread.

Tire Pressure - Check tire inflation pressure on all four tires and the spare more frequently in fall and winter. As the average temperature drops, so will tire pressures – typically by one PSI for every 10 degrees. The proper tire pressure levels can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker typically located on the driver’s side door jamb.

Air Filter - Check the engine air filter by holding it up to a 60-watt light bulb. If light can be seen through much of the filter, it is still clean enough to work effectively. However, if light is blocked by most of the filter, replace it.

Coolant Levels - Check the coolant level in the overflow tank when the engine is cold. If the level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability.

Wiper Blades - The blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots. In areas with snow, consider installing winter wiper blades that wrap the blade flame in a rubber boot to reduce ice and snow buildup that can prevent good contact between the blade and the grass. Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that has antifreeze components to prevent it from freezing.

Brakes - If there is any indication of a brake problem, have the system inspected by a certified technician to ensure all components are in good working order.

Transmission, Brake and Power Steering Fluids - Check all fluids to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe levels.

Emergency Road Kit - Carry an emergency equipped for winter weather, to include:

  • Mobile phone, pre-programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers including family and emergency services. Don’t forget a car changer.
  • Drinking water, a first aid kit, plus non-perishable attacks for both human and pet passengers. Add a bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat little) or traction mats. Add a snow shovel.
  • Blankets and 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 reflective triangles)
  • Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)


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