TOWSON, MD (October 31, 2017) –– As October Car Care Month comes to an end and temperatures are beginning to cool, AAA Mid-Atlantic is reminding those motorists who have not yet conducted a seasonal check-up on their car, not to delay any longer, and make time in the days ahead for this essential task.
With over 1.7 million AAA roadside assistance calls recorded this year in AAA Mid-Atlantic’s foot print, including more than 450,000 in Maryland, this serves as a reminder to motorists that cars need periodic checkups to minimize breakdowns, as well as maximize efficiency. No motorist wants to spend any time stranded on the side of the road, particularly in winter, and especially if they have passengers in tow. Harsh winter conditions make a vehicle work harder, particularly the charging and starting system, headlights, tires and windshield wipers.
“AAA recommends motorists use a simple checklist to determine their vehicle’s winter maintenance needs,” advises Chris Storms, AAA Car Care Center Regional Director. “Many of the items on the list can be inspected by a car owner in less than an hour, but others should be performed by a certified technician.”
Motorists can identify reliable, high-quality repair shops with certified technicians by looking for the AAA Approved Auto Repair sign or by visiting one of AAA Mid-Atlantic’s 11 Maryland AAA Car Care Centers. These facilities must meet and maintain high professional standards for customer service, technician training, tools, equipment, warranties and cleanliness.
In preparation for the harsh winter weather, AAA recommends that motorists perform the following six key checks on their vehicle:
- Clean any corrosion from battery posts and cable connections and wash all surfaces with battery terminal cleaner or a solution of baking soda and water. Have the battery checked by a professional to ensure it is strong enough to face cold weather. 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 Auto Repair shops and AAA Car Care Centers can also test and replace weak batteries.
- Have any engine drivability problems corrected at a reputable repair shop. Symptoms like hard starts, rough idling, stalling or diminished power could signal a problem that would be exacerbated by cold weather.
- Replace worn windshield-wiper blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase one-piece beam-type or rubber-clad “winter” blades to fight snow and ice build-up. Use cold-weather windshield washer solvent and carry an ice-scraper.
- Inspect all lights and bulbs and replace burned out bulbs. Clean road grime or clouding from all lenses.
- Have your mechanic check the exhaust system for leaks and look for any holes in the trunk and floorboards.
- Examine tires for tread depth and uneven wearing. Check tire pressures once a month, when tires are cold, before driving for any distance. In extreme climates, a set of winter snow tires may be a wise investment.
Additionally, motorists should always carry an emergency kit equipped for winter weather, including the following:
- Mobile phone pre-programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers including family and emergency services, as well as a car charger
Non-perishable snacks for both human and pet passengers
Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
Extra warm clothing (gloves, hats, scarves)
Flashlight with extra batteries
Window washer solvent
Ice scraper with brush
Cloth or roll of paper towels
Warning devices (flares or triangles)
Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)
Android and iPhone users can download AAA Mobile, AAA’s mobile smartphone app that provides AAA services for all motorists, such as mapping and gas price comparisons, as well as member-exclusive benefits including roadside assistance and discounts. AAA Membership is not required to download and use AAA apps, but is necessary to take advantage of unique member benefits such as roadside assistance. For more information on AAA Mobile, visit www.AAA.com/Mobile.
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8600 LaSalle Road, Ste 639
Towson, MD 21286
AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than 937,000 members in Maryland. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit AAA.com.