As the cold wintry months approach, AAA braces for an increase in Roadside Assistance calls for dead batteries. According to data from last winter, AAA East Central contractors responded to 264,616 battery-related calls and replaced 60,171.To avoid potential breakdowns, especially during the colder months, vehicle owners should consider having their batteries tested sooner rather than later.
“Our number one service call during the winter is assisting members with dead batteries,” says Mike Hoshaw, vice president of automotive services, AAA East Central. “In addition to addressing a car’s fall and winter maintenance needs, we advise motorists to focus on the health of their battery today, not when it’s too late.”
October is AAA Car Care Month, and it’s the perfect time for vehicle owners to ensure their batteries are ready for winter. Batteries often work under huge temperature extremes and stand up to constant shock and vibrations. Intense summer heat can cause corrosion and fluid evaporation, leaving a vehicle’s battery more vulnerable to the rigors of winter. Even the tiny amount of power required to maintain clocks, alarm systems, and computer memories will gradually discharge a battery over time.
AAA East Central advises motorists visit a AAA Approved Auto Repair Facility to have their entire charging system and battery tested, especially if the battery is more than three years old. AAA members can request battery service on-the-spot as part of their membership. This includes battery testing and, if need be, replacement with a competitively-priced AAA battery. Service can be requested by calling 800-AAA-HELP.
Other items on AAA’s Car Care Month Checklist include:
- Tire Type and Tread: In areas with heavy winter weather, changing to snow tires on all four wheels will provide the best winter traction. Testing tire’s tread is easy: insert a quarter into a tread groove with the top of George Washington’s head facing down. If you can see the top of Washington’s head, it’s time to start shopping for new tires.
- Tire Pressure: Typically, tire pressure decreases 1 PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit that the temperature drops, putting owners at risk for a flat tire. The proper tire pressure levels can be found on a sticker located on the driver’s side door jamb. (Don’t forget to check the spare!)
- Wiper Blades: Replace blades that leave streaks or miss spots. Consider installing winter wiper blades that wrap the blade in a rubber boot to prevent ice and snow buildup.
- Washer Fluid: Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a cleaning solution that has antifreeze components.
- Coolant Levels: If your engine coolant level is low, add the recommended coolant to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability.
The full AAA Winter Car Care Checklist can be found here.