SALT LAKE CITY—October is Car Care Month, which means it's time to prepare your vehicles for the impending cold weather and snow. In addition to providing piece of mind, proper car care can result in significant cost savings. It will extend the life of your vehicle and help protect the environment.
AAA recorded more than 16 million roadside assistance calls during this past year in the United States and Canada. This demonstrates that there is a continued need for education regarding car maintenance.
Here is a short checklist to help ensure that your car is winter ready. Most items on the list can be conducted by vehicle owners, but some will require a certified technician. A more extensive checklist is available online.
Check you tires
Check the air level in all of your tires (including your spare) to make sure they are inflated to the level indicated in your owner's manual. The air pressure in your tires will drop when the temperature drops. Check your tires for heavy wear and replace any tire that has less than 3/32- inches of tread.
Have a technician check the alignment, wheel balance and suspension of your tires. If you live in an area that experiences heavy snow fall you might need snow tires. All-season tires might be sufficient in areas with light snow fall.
Check all lights
Check that your headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, backup lights and emergency flashers are all working properly. Replace all bulbs that have burnt out.
Check wiper blades
Make sure that both wipers completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blades that leave streaks or miss spots. Consider installing winter blades if you live in an area that experiences heavy snow fall.
Fill washer fluid
Make sure your washer fluid is up to the fill line. Washer fluid use increases during the winter months, especially in the case of heavy snow fall when salt is used on the roads. If you live in an area with severe winters consider using a winter cleaning solution to prevent it from freezing.
Check your brakes
Having brakes that are in good working order is especially important during the winter months. If there is any indication of a problem with your brake system have it inspected by a certified technician before the snow begins to fall.
Create a winter emergency road kit
The first item in your emergency kit should be a mobile phone and you should carry it with you at all times. Program your phone with important numbers including family members and emergency services. If you have a smartphone, you can download the AAA app which provides services such as mapping and gas price comparison as well as member benefits like roadside assistance and discounts.
Your emergency kit should include a mobile phone charger, drinking water, a first-aid kit, non- perishable snacks for both humans and pets, a bag of abrasive material (such as sand, salt or cat litter), a snow shovel, blankets, 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 (like flares or triangles) and a basic tool kit.
Following this simple checklist will help ensure that your vehicle is ready to handle the cold weather that lies ahead. In addition to providing peace of mind, these car care tips will help keep you safe and they should extend the life of your vehicle. Proper car care is a money saver too.