Monday, November 10, 2014

Prepare for winter driving with these tips

With Kansas’s first arctic blast of winter weather in the forecast for tonight, AAA is preparing to help stranded motorists. 

AAA has statewide network of towing and other service vehicles and drivers, including Roadside Rescue Team fleets in Wichita, Topeka and Lawrence, ready to respond to all kinds of roadside emergencies, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. 

AAA wants to remind motorists to make these last minute key preparations to minimize breakdowns and avoid delays:
  • Check 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. 
  • Most batteries have a 3-5 year life, so if your battery is nearing three years in age, have it checked.  AAA members can request a visit from a AAA mobile battery service technician who will test their battery and replace it on-site if necessary.  AAA Approved Repair shops can also test and replace weak batteries. 
  • Battery Cables and Terminals – Make sure the battery and cable ends are free from corrosion and the connections are tight
  • Check your antifreeze:  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.  AAA recommends for this region antifreeze should provide protection to 30 to 40 degrees below zero. Without the proper protection, freezing can occur resulting in substantial engine damage.  Antifreeze should be checked every few years because over time the fluid becomes acidic, which can damage the radiator and heater core resulting in leaks.
  • Check the fluid in the windshield washer reservoir: washer fluid needs to be a winter blend with adequate amounts of alcohol to prevent freezing which can crack the reservoir.
  • Tire pressure: Using a tire gauge, check the pressure on all four tires and the spare more frequently now.  As the average temperature drops, so will tire pressure – typically by one PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit change in temperature.  The proper tire pressure levels can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker typically located on the driver’s side door jam.
  • AAA Membership Card: check your AAA card and make sure it hasn’t expired. Renew or join by visiting the website,, or by calling or visiting any local AAA office.
AAA also urges motorists to be equipped with winter car essentials, including:
  • Tire Gauge
  • Scraper/brush to clean ice off of your windshield. Using another object, such as a credit card or CD, could damage your auto glass.
  • Kitty litter, sand or scrap pieces of carpet, can help tires gain traction if stuck in snow or mud. 
  • Jumper cables for unexpected battery failures.  
  • Folding shovel, when paired with sand or kitty litter, can help you get unstuck. 
  • Other tools that can help you stay safe in the event of a breakdown, including a cell phone and charger, flashlight with fresh batteries, blankets, hot packs to keep your hands and feet warm, water and non-perishable snacks.
AAA is an advocate for the safety and security of the motoring public. For more information, visit