During October, Car Care Month, AAA encourages drivers to prepare their vehicles for the cold and snowy months ahead.
Each winter (December through March), AAA Ohio Auto Club responds to more than 150,000 calls for roadside assistance in its 38-county territory. You can prevent many of these winter breakdowns by simply following the maintenance schedule in the vehicle owner’s manual.
At least half of the vehicles AAA inspects have an issue with vehicle lubricants. This includes motor oil, which lubricates, cleans, cools and protects engines. Low oil levels can lead to breakdowns and costly engine damage.
Tips to know
When it comes to maintenance issues, experts say smart consumers should know the following. Car Care Month is a great time to address these issues:
- Proper oil change interval: It depends on the vehicle and the owner’s driving habits and will be found in the vehicle owner’s manual. Some vehicles that require full synthetic oil can go 10,000 miles or more between changes.
- Type of oil the car requires: This can typically be found on the oil cap and always in the vehicle owner’s manual. Using the right oil will help protect the vehicle warranty. Check the oil at least once a month between changes; leaking or burning oil can lead to low oil levels and breakdowns.
- Cooling systems: Repair shops report engine coolant as one of the most missed maintenance items. A common reason members call AAA is for engine cooling system issues, like frozen radiators or cars with no heat because of low coolant levels. To avoid these issues, check the level, condition and concentration of the coolant periodically. AAA recommends a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and distilled water. Not all vehicles require the same type of antifreeze. Check the vehicle owner’s manual for the recommended type.
- Tires: Motorists should make sure tires have sufficient tread remaining for good winter traction. Check tire pressure once a month when tires are cold. Follow the levels posted on the decal located inside the driver’s side door, not what’s on the tire.
- Vehicle batteries: Extreme temperatures can drain batteries, and cars need a fully charged battery in good condition to start a vehicle in cold weather. The average life of a battery is three to five years. If a car battery is older than three years, have it checked by a professional.
- Emergency roadside assistance kit: Motorists should also be prepared for breakdowns by stocking their car now with a winter emergency roadside assistance kit. This should include jumper cables, blankets and extra clothes, a flashlight and extra batteries, ice scraper, reflectors, shovel, first aid kit, water and non-perishable food, and a mobile phone with a charger.
Car care from AAA
To get your car in tip-top shape this Car Care Month, schedule an appointment at a AAA Car Care Plus or Approved Auto Repair location near you. From oil changes to new tires, AAA Car Care Plus locations can do it all. Plus, members save $25 on batteries, 10% on labor and 5% on new tires every day.