9 tips to prepare your vehicle for the frigid temperatures

Frigid air can impact your vehicle’s performance. Here are some recommendations for preparing your vehicle for cold weather conditions.

News 12 Staff

Jan 5, 2024, 9:30 AM

Updated 103 days ago

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Frigid air can impact your vehicle’s performance.
Battery failures are the primary reason for emergency calls to AAA Northeast in winter months. 
“A vehicle’s battery loses 30% of its power when the temperature drops to freezing, and 60% of its power when the temperature is near zero,” said Robert Sinclair Jr., senior manager of media relations for AAA Northeast.
Here are some recommendations for preparing your vehicle for cold weather conditions:

1. EMERGENCY ROADSIDE KIT

Always carry an emergency kit that includes basic tools, a traction aid like sand or non-clumping kitty litter, jumper cables, gloves, flashlight and a charged cellphone.

2. BATTERY AND CHARGING SYSTEM

If it is more than three years old, consider having the battery tested. To start up during a cold snap, your car needs a fully charged battery.
Does your car battery have enough juice to make it through winter? Here are some tips to maintain it.

3. TIRES

Proper inflation is critical. Tires lose one PSI of pressure for every 10 degrees the air temperature drops. Tires also lose about one PSI per month through normal aspiration. Underinflated tires can overheat and blow out. Examine tires for tread depth and uneven wear. Increased tread depth increases traction with the road surface in poor weather conditions and can prevent skids on icy or wet surfaces.

4. COOLANT

Check the coolant level in the overflow tank when the engine is cold. Also, inspect the cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps.

5. OIL

Oil should be changed based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Synthetic oil can be an advantage in cold weather because it will allow for faster starts.

6. WIPERS

Replace any wiper blade that does not adequately clean the windshield. Wrap wipers in plastic bags before a snowstorm or ice storm to prevent them from becoming stuck to the windshield and damaged.

7. SNOW/ICE

In snow or ice, it is best to not drive. If driving is necessary, drive slowly, refrain from using cruise control, allow for increased following distances between vehicles, and use the accelerator and brake gently. Before you start driving, remove all snow and ice, including the top of your vehicle.

8. BEFORE DRIVING

Check tire tread. Fill the gas tank. Clear/clean all lights and windows. Ensure the vehicle’s heater and defroster are working properly.

9. SUPPLIES

Keep these supplies handy during the winter: Snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper. Abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter, in case the vehicle gets stuck in the snow.


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