October is Car Care Month, and whether we want to believe it or not, winter is just around the corner. There are many simple things you can do to help prolong your car’s life and make sure it’s performing at its best, and the fall is the perfect time to proactively ensure your vehicle is prepared for rough winter weather.
AAA Southern New England offers a number of resources for New England car owners and drivers. One of the best ways to make sure your car gets a thorough pre-winter check-up is to use a checklist. Once everything on the list has been checked off, your car will be ready for all of the winter elements headed its way:
Check Your Tires
A bald tire is a bad tire, and can lead to a serious crash when traction is compromised in poor weather conditions. Be sure to take proactive measures and check your tire’s tread depth – if they’re worn-down, be sure to either purchase new all-season tires or change over to four snow tires before winter arrives.
Test Your Battery
Your battery’s strength can significantly decrease when the outdoor temperature dips below 32 degrees. To avoid future problems with your battery when the mercury drops, visit your local AAA-certified technician for a complete electrical test that includes a performance test of the battery. Be sure to take advantage of AAA Southern New England’s free battery testing clinics, taking place at selected AAA locations throughout October. Residents can find their local clinic here.
Change Your Wiper Blades
New England winters come with a variety of conditions, including everything from freezing rain to the blinding glare from the white snow, which can be compounded by windshield dirt and grime. Wiper blades should clear the glass with each swipe and if they don’t, be preemptive and replace them before winter arrives. AAA recommends changing wiper blades every 6 to 12 months. It is also crucial to make sure your windshield washer reservoir is filled with windshield washer fluid that is designed for all-season use.
Be Aware of the Temperature
When driving, it’s important to pay attention to the temperature, especially when the roads have moisture on them. When the thermometer goes below 32 degrees, a thin layer of ice can appear on the roadway, a condition known as “black-ice.” Stopping on ice and snow covered can reduce your car’s braking ability by 50 percent. In these cases you should reduce your car’s speed by 50 percent. You should especially pay attention to your braking distance when driving on bridges, which typically will freeze first.
The winter months should be spent with family and friends, enjoying the holidays and cold-weather outdoor activities – not hassled with car troubles. Be sure to use this checklist to get your car in gear this winter. You can learn more about AAA’s automotive maintenance services by clicking here, and more recommendations for transitioning your car for the winter months can be found here.