NEED TO KNOW: Get your car prepared for winter

Posted at 4:09 PM, Nov 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-23 16:09:03-05

We've had our first major snow, and if your car wasn't ready for it, here's some helpful advice on what to do to make sure it's prepared for the next round.

According to current AAA Service Volume tracking, nearly 24 percent of the Michigan service calls were attributed to dead batteries. “Winter driving can be stressful on both motorists and their vehicles. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to preparing your car for another Michigan winter.” stated Susan Hiltz, AAA Michigan public affairs director.

AAA has released a list of several tips to help drivers make sure their car is ready for snowy weather.

*Have battery and charging system tested to ensure they are fully charged and in good condition.

*Have brakes checked to ensure they work properly and apply smoothly to help prevent the wheels from locking on slick surfaces.

*Have tires properly inflated. Under-inflated tires can be dangerous, and may suffer damage. Tire air pressure decreases 1-2 psi for every 10 degree temperature drop.

*Use the tire size recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer for best snow traction. Overly wide tires tend to float on top of the snow, reducing grip.

*Make sure the engine coolant provides anti-freeze protection down to the lowest temperatures you are likely to encounter; -30F/-34C is a good guideline.

*Replace worn windshield wipers that streak.

*Fill washer reservoir with a winter solvent that won’t freeze.

*Always keep the gas tank at least half full to minimize condensation buildup that can lead to gas line freeze-up. If the fuel in your area does not already contain alcohol, use a gas line “dryer” additive periodically to absorb moisture.

*Carry a winter driving kit for use in the event of an emergency. The kit should include a small bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter), a small snow shovel, a snow brush, traction mats, a flashlight with new batteries, basic car repair tools, window washer solvent, an ice scraper, a cloth or roll of paper towels, jumper cables, a blanket, warning devices (flares or triangles), snacks, drinking water and extra clothes.

*Carry a cell phone and car charger. Program the phone with important numbers including a reliable roadside service provider that you have signed up with in advance, such as AAA emergency road service (1-800-222-6424).