It's not too early to prepare your vehicle for winter

AAA Oklahoma Modified: October 2, 2012 at 10:57 am •  Published: October 2, 2012
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As Oklahoma Roadside Assistance Calls Top 192,000 for 2012 so far, AAA Urges Oklahomans to Check their Vehicles

The nation’s largest motor club reminds drivers that October is AAA Car Care Month, an ideal time for a seasonal vehicle checkup to ensure worry-free driving

AAA Oklahoma, Oct. 2, 2012 – With more than 18 million AAA roadside assistance calls recorded January through August, 2012 for the U.S. and Canada – 192,000 in Oklahoma – AAA reminds motorists that cars need periodic checkups to maintain safety and maximize efficiency.

“Whether you’re expecting cooler temperatures, snow, rain or simply a little less sunshine, regular maintenance and seasonal checkups can help prevent unexpected repair costs in the future,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma.

“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.”

AAA recommends that 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.

Winter 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.

Drive Belts – Inspect the underside of accessory drive belts for cracks or fraying. Many newer multi-rib “serpentine” belts are made of materials that do not show obvious signs of wear; replace these belts at 60,000-mile intervals.

Engine Hoses – Inspect cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Also, squeeze the hoses and replace any that are brittle or excessively spongy feeling.

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 Fahrenheit. 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. Test the antifreeze protection level annually with an inexpensive tester available at any auto parts store.

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