Our southern friends at AAA just released this handy winter car care checklist and we just had to pass it on. If you’ve ever wished you had a quick, easy way to ensure your vehicle was 100% ready for winter, today’s your lucky day. The guide below covers everything from lights to transmission, but if you need any help, feel free to stop by your local CAA Approved Automotive Repair Services location (AARS).
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. CAA Members can get their Mobile Battery Service tested and replace it on-site, if necessary. AARS locations can also test and replace weak batteries.
Battery Cables and Terminals
Make sure the battery terminals and cable ends are free from corrosion and the connections are tight.
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.
Inspect cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Also, squeeze the hoses and replace any that are brittle or have an excessively spongy feeling.
Tire Type and Tread
In areas with heavy winter weather, installing snow tires on all four wheels will provide the best winter traction. All-season tires work well in light-to-moderate snow conditions provided they have adequate tread depth. Replace anytire that has less than 3/32-inches of tread. Uneven tire wear can indicate alignment, wheel balance or suspension problems that must be addressed to prevent further tire damage.
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. 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.
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.
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.
Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and back-up lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs.
The blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots. In regions where snow is common, consider installing winter wiper blades that wrap the blade frame in a rubber boot to reduce ice and snow buildup that can prevent good contact between the blade and the glass.
Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that has antifreeze components to prevent it from freezing.
If there is any indication of a brake problem, have the system inspected by a certified technician to ensure all components are in good working order.
Transmission, Brake and Power Steering Fluids
Check all fluids to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe levels.
Emergency Road Kit
Carry an emergency kit equipped for winter weather. Here’s how >
Need help with any of these items? Find reliable, high-quality repair shops with certified technicians by visiting a CAA Approved Auto Repair Services (AARS) location. These facilities must meet and maintain high professional standards for customer service, technician training, tools, equipment, warranties and cleanliness. Ready to find one near you? Click the link below.