As winter’s freezing temperatures loom, many vehicles may not be prepared for winter conditions that could leave you stuck – and freezing – in the cold.
“No one wants to be stranded in the cold by a vehicle breakdown,” said AAA Kansas spokesman Shawn Steward.
He said the most common problems AAA receives calls about include dead batteries and improperly inflated tires, which are aggravated by sudden cold snaps.
“Properly preparing your vehicle for winter driving is essential for the safety of all passengers and will greatly decrease the chances of your vehicle letting you down,” he said.
AAA Kansas has provided a checklist to ensure your cars are prepared for the winter season:
▪ Check your battery and charging system. A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather.
▪ Make sure the battery terminals and cable ends are free from corrosion, and make sure the connections are tight.
▪ Check tire inflation more frequently when it is cold.
▪ Replace tires with uneven tread.
▪ 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, which will help maintain antifreeze capabilities.
▪ Ensure that your wiper blades are in good condition. Replace them if they are not.
▪ Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that has antifreeze components.
▪ Inspect your drive belts for cracks or fraying
▪ Inspect cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps.
▪ Check to make sure all light systems work, including headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and back-up lights.
In case you do get stranded in freezing temperatures, AAA Kansas also recommends to keep these items in your car as part of a winter emergency road kit:
▪ A mobile phone per-programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers
▪ Drinking water
▪ First-aid kit
▪ Non-perishable snacks for humans and pet passengers
▪ Bag of abrasive material, such as sand or cat litter, or traction mats
▪ Snow shovel
▪ Blanket or sleeping bag
▪ Extra warm clothing
▪ Snow boots
▪ Flashlight with extra batteries
▪ Window washer solvent with antifreeze components
▪ Ice scraper with brush
▪ Cloth or roll of paper towels
▪ Jumper cables
▪ Warning devices, such as flares
▪ Basic toolkit with screwdrivers, pliers and an adjustable wrench