AAA Recommends A Car Care Checklist To Prepare For Upcoming Winter Driving

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FLORHAM PARK–With the change of seasons, most people examine their wardrobe. Last season’s coat is inspected for wear, and boots, sweaters and wool slacks come out of the closet for scrutiny. The AAA New Jersey Automobile Club reminds motorists that their vehicle also deserves a seasonal checkup.

AAA recommends that motorists use a simple checklist to determine their car’s fall and winter maintenance needs. Vehicle owners can inspect most of the items on the checklist in less than an hour, but others should be performed by a certified technician.

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The AAA New Jersey Automobile Club is offering free vehicle maintenance inspections that include checks of the tires, fluid levels, windshield wipers and windshield, batteries, lights, belts and hoses. The inspections will be held at the following dates/times:

AAA Florham Park
1 Hanover Road, (973) 377-7200
Tuesday, October 19 from Noon to 3 p.m.

AAA Springfield
135 Route 22 East (at Fadem Road), (973) 467-2651
Wednesday, October 20 & Wednesday, October 27 from Noon to 3 p.m.

AAA’s Approved Auto Repair and Approved Auto Body (AAR/AAB) facilities will also be offering vehicle maintenance inspections throughout the month of October. To find a facility, visit AAA.com/AutoRepair.

Winter Car Care Checklist

* Battery & 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. AAA Mobile Battery Service technicians can test a motorist’s battery and replace it on-site, if necessary.

* Battery Cables & Terminals-Check the condition of the battery cables and terminals. Make sure all connections are secure and remove any corrosion from the terminals and posts.

* Belts & Hoses-Inspect belts for cracks or fraying. Visually inspect the cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Squeeze the hoses to check for any that may be brittle or excessively spongy feeling. This may indicate a need for replacement.

* Tire Tread-Worn tires or tires with inadequate tread depth are dangerous and may result in a car hydroplaning on wet pavement or losing traction in snow. If any tire has less than 3/32-inches of tread, it should be replaced. Uneven wear can indicate alignment or wheel balance problems.

* Tire Pressure-As the temperature drops, so does the pressure in the tires-typically 1 pound per square inch (PSI) for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Proper tire pressure levels for the vehicle can be found on the sticker located on the driver’s side doorjamb or in the vehicle owner’s manual. Don’t forget to check the spare, too.

* Air Filter-Check the engine’s 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. If the light is blocked by most of the filter, have it replaced.

* Coolant Levels-Check the coolant (also called antifreeze) level when the engine is cold. If the coolant level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability.

* Lights-Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, emergency flashers, turn signals, brake light and back-up lights. Have any burnt-out bulbs replaced.

* Wiper Blades-Blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Blades that leave streaks or miss spots should be replaced. Consider installing winter wiper blades that wrap the blade in a rubber boot to prevent ice and snow buildup.

* Washer Fluid-Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a cleaning solution that has antifreeze components for cold-weather use.

* Brakes-Have brakes 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-Update the car’s emergency kit for winter weather. The kit should include: a bag of abrasive material (sand, salt or kitty litter); a small snow shovel; a snow brush and ice scraper; flashlight with extra batteries; cloth or roll of paper towels; jumper cables; gloves, hats and blankets; flares or triangles; bottles of water; non-perishable snacks; non-perishable snacks; a first-aid kit; a change of clothes; and a fully-charged cell phone.


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