AAA: Prepare Your Car For Cold Winter Temps

AAA Colorado recommends the following to prepare your vehicle for the first arctic blast of the winter season:

Charge! -- Cold weather is hard on batteries. At zero degrees, a car's battery loses about 60 percent of its strength. At a comparatively mild 32 degrees, a battery is 35 percent weaker. A load test performed by a qualified technician will help determine whether a car’s battery is strong enough for winter starts.

Get a Grip -- Make sure your car is equipped with tires that are properly inflated and have enough tread to be able to handle your region’s winter weather. For most motorists, all-season tires are adequate. In more northern or mountainous regions, switching to snow tires may be necessary.

See and Be Seen -- Driving with a snow-covered windshield, windows, side-view mirrors or lights invites a crash. Clear windows, mirrors and lights with an ice scrapper, brush or spray de-icer. Make certain windshield wipers and defrosters are in good working order and that washer reservoirs are filled with no-freeze windshield washer fluid.

Slippery When Wet -- At or just about 32 degrees, a thin layer of water can cover the ice, causing extremely slippery conditions. The distance needed to stop on ice at 32 degrees is twice as long as at zero degrees.

Keep Your Engine Cool -- Mix cooling system antifreeze with an equal portion of water for maximum protection.

Key Solution --Frozen door locks can be overcome by carefully heating the end of a key with a match or lighter. A squirt of de-icer spray is another quick method.

Air It Out -- Don’t start your car in a closed garage or idle your engine for long periods with the windows closed. Carbon monoxide, present in exhaust fumes, is almost impossible to detect and can be fatal when breathed in a confined area.

Finish Up -- Road salt, slush and grime are especially hard on a car’s finish. To help prevent rust and paint damage, keep cars washed and waxed. A full- or self-service car wash makes the job easier when temperatures are low.

With the winter driving season just beginning, AAA Colorado recommends getting your "Don’t Leave Home Without It" winter driving kit ready.

AAA Colorado suggests the following items to carry in your car during the winter driving season:

  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Flares or reflective triangles
  • Jumper cables
  • Cell phone/with extra batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • Rags or paper towels
  • Rolls of quarters, dimes and nickels
  • Gallon jug of water
  • Non--perishable food items
  • Blanket and extra set of clothes
  • Window washer solvent
  • Non--clumping kitty litter
  • Ice--scraper, snow brush and snow shovel
  • Tire Chains
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