COLUMBUS – AAA rescued a record breaking 32 million motorists in 2015. Ohio’s roadside assistance calls skyrocket during winter, as cold and snow lead to spin outs and breakdowns. In recognition of October as Car Care Month, motorists are urged to prepare their vehicles now for the wintry months ahead.
During last year’s mild winter (December–March), the Ohio Auto Club responded to more than 127,000 roadside assistance calls in its 38-county territory. Calls more than double during bitter cold and winter snow, leaving many stranded as they wait for assistance.
Motorists can help prevent winter breakdowns and crashes simply by taking care of their cars, but AAA finds 62 percent of cars are behind schedule for routine maintenance services. This can lead to breakdowns and costly repairs. The following simple winter car care checklist can help save Ohioans time and money this winter.
Winter Car Care Checklist:
Battery –Starting an engine in cold weather requires a fully charged battery in good condition, yet two-thirds of drivers never check their battery before it dies, according to AAA research. Have a technician test the battery for charge and corrosion before winter hits.
Tires – The cold can decrease tire pressure and make tires susceptible to going flat. Proper tire pressure levels can be found on a sticker located on the driver’s side door jamb. Tire treads helps grip winter roads. Check for low tread depth and uneven wear.
Lights – With shorter daylight hours during the winter, motorists do more driving in the dark. Burnt out headlights, emergency flashers, turn signals, brake lights or back-up lights are major safety concerns. Replace any burnt out bulbs.
Wiper Blades – Blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace blades that leave streaks or miss spots. Winter wiper blades, which wrap the blade in a rubber boot, can help prevent ice and snow buildup.
Fluids – Make sure the oil, power steering, brake and coolant fluids are at recommended levels. Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a cleaning solution that has antifreeze components for cold weather use.
Brakes – Brake components that are badly worn, or a brake system in need of hydraulic fluid, can make it difficult to stop on slick winter roads. Have a certified technician ensure all components are in good working order.
Emergency Kit – Just in case, keep the car stocked with jumper cables, blankets, a flashlight with extra batteries, an ice scraper, reflectors, a shovel, a bag of abrasive material (kitty litter, salt or sand), a first-aid kit, water and non-perishable food, and a mobile phone charger.
Information for this story was provided by AAA.