Car Care Month is the perfect time to perform routine maintenance and check-ups on your vehicle. Today’s cars are more reliable than ever and resolving to take better care of your vehicles will help ensure that reliability.
Check out these helpful tips to keep your car revved up and running all year long.
It’s important to schedule comprehensive bi-annual checkups for your vehicle. Using your AAA membership, you have access to over 7,500 repair shops through our Approved Auto Repair program. AAA Approved Auto Repair shops offer a one-of-a-kind, unrivaled experience provided by friendly, approachable and highly-trained service staff. All technicians are ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified, or factory trained, which means they have met the industry standard for excellence in automotive repair. Each facility also undergoes rigorous inspections by AAA to ensure quality customer care.
Old or worn tires can be unsafe on the road, especially in slick or wet winter conditions. You can find the recommended air pressure in your owner’s manual or on the placard inside the door jamb. Check the pressure when your tires are cold (driven less than one mile) if possible. Tread depth can be checked by inserting a penny into a tread groove. If you can see Lincoln’s entire head, it’s time for new tires.
Engine oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle’s engine. It provides a slick barrier between internal engine parts, keeping them from coming in contact with one another. Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended intervals, replace the oil filter, and use the recommended type and viscosity of oil.
Check your battery. Extreme temperatures (hot or cold) can affect a weak or poorly-maintained battery. It can cause it to fail or put excessive strain on your alternator, drive belt, or starter. As a AAA member, you’re entitled to a complimentary battery check by one of our trained technicians. Schedule a time for a AAA battery technician to come to your vehicle and test your battery, starter and alternator. We’ll even deliver a new battery, install it and take away your old one.
STAY ON TOP OF FLUIDS
Check for the correct antifreeze and water mix percentage in the radiator. If the fluid in the cooling system freezes in the winter, it will cause irreparable engine damage. Since you’ll need to open the cooling system, wait until the engine is completely cool – preferably letting it rest overnight. Test the mixture using an inexpensive coolant mixture strength tool that you can buy at any auto parts supply store, and look for a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water.
Your ability to see your surroundings has a major influence on safe driving, particularly in the rain. Properly functioning wiper blades combined with washer fluid allow you to keep your windshield clean and clear. If your blades are streaky, it’s time to replace them.
EMERGENCY AUTO KIT
- A warm blanket
- Extra clothing, including boots and gloves
- Bottled water
- Non-perishable food, like hard candies and nutrition bars
- A small supply of necessary medications
- Pet supplies (food, treats) if applicable
- An ice scraper
- A small shovel
- A flashlight
- Windshield washer fluid
- Matches and flares
- Jumper cables
- A basic tool kit, including a sharp knife and electrical tape
- Tire chains or cables
- A filled spare tire, changing equipment, and compressed air
- A first-aid kit with tourniquet and splint
- Paper towels
- A bag of kitty litter or sand to use for traction during the winter
- A small, type ABC fire extinguisher. It’s also important that you learn how to use it.
- A paper map in case you lose data signal or the signs are covered by snow