Four easy tasks to prepare your car for winter

Denver, October 24 -As winter weather approaches, AAA Colorado reminds motorists of four easy tasks any driver can perform to reduce their chances of becoming stranded and improve their safety on the road.

1.Check and Clean Car Battery

A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather. Car batteries lose power in cold weather. A vehicle battery loses 35 percent of its strength at 32 degrees and 60 percent of its strength in subzero temperatures.

Before cold weather arrives, have the battery and charging system tested by a trained technician. AAA Colorado members can request a visit from an AAA Mobile Battery Service technician who will test their battery and replace it on-site, if necessary. AAA Mobile Battery Service is available in most Front Range locations. AAA Approved Auto Repair shops can also test and replace weak batteries.

2. Inspect All FIVE Tires

Begin every tire inspection with a pressure check. Tires lose one pound per square inch (psi) in pressure for every 10 degree drop in the temperature. According to AAA, more than half of all cars on the road have at least one under–inflated tire.

Always check tire pressure when the tires are at ambient temperature and the car has not been driven recently. Use a quality gauge to make sure all five tires are inflated to the pressures recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. The carmaker’s recommendation can be found on a sticker usually attached to the driver’s door jam, or in the owner’s manual.

AAA Colorado has found one of the most frequently overlooked items on a vehicle is the spare tire. When inspecting tires, it’s important also to make sure the spare is in good condition and ready for use in case it’s needed.

After making sure all five tires are properly inflated, drivers should inspect the tread depth and overall condition of the tires. Worn tires in need of replacement are much more likely to suffer punctures and other problems. An industry survey found one out of every 10 cars has at least one bald tire.

3. Replace Wiper Blades and Refill Washer Fluid

Snow, ice, grime and other debris on a windshield will compromise the driver’s vision, and safety, if the windshield wipers cannot remove them. The life of a rubber insert is typically six to 12 months. Streaking and chattering are common clues that the rubber is breaking down and replacement is needed. If the wiper blades are sufficiently deteriorated, the metal wiper blade frame could contact and permanently damage the windshield.

Check the windshield washer fluid reservoir monthly or more often if the washers are used frequently. Top it off with a solution formulated with a winter solvent that will not freeze. Be sure to test the washer spray nozzles for proper operation and aim.

4. Place Winter Emergency Kit in the Car

A well prepared Winter Emergency Kit may include an ice scraper with snow brush, flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, cell phone car charger, general first aid kit, blanket, extra set of warm clothes for driver and all regular passengers (gloves, hats, boots), non-clumping kitty litter for traction, flares or reflective triangles, gallon jug of water, non-perishable food items for both human and pet passengers, window washer solvent and shovel.

During October Car Care Month, most AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities offer free safety checks and service discounts to AAA Colorado members. A complete list of Approved Auto Repair facilities in Colorado can be found at www.AAA.com.

AAA Colorado has more than 560,000 members and is an advocate for safety and security for all travelers. As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides over 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive related services, as well as member exclusive savings.