Winter weary |

Winter weary

AAA Colorado recommends winterizing vehicles before inclement weather hits

Joshua Roberts

Car Care Month

AAA Colorado has designated October as Car Care Month to remind all motorists to check their vehicles before the onset of winter driving conditions.

Safety tips include checking the battery, tires, windshield wipers, fluid, defroster and the engine coolant system. The agency also recommends packing an emergency car kit.

For more information on automotive issues, visit the AAA Web site,

— Last year, amid one of the most active winter seasons in state history, calls for roadside automobile service reached “unprecedented levels,” said David McDonald, AAA Colorado roadside assistance manager.

Back-to-back storms in December 2006 combined to produce up to five feet of snow.

“We hope motorists will take extra care in winterizing their vehicle this year before the first snowflake so they don’t experience the inconvenience of mechanical problems with their vehicle,” McDonald said.

AAA Colorado, a 500,000-plus member organization and advocate for travel safety, has designated October as Car Care Month, and agency officials are urging motorists statewide to check their

vehicles before the onset of winter conditions.

AAA suggests motorists complete the following checklist:

• Check the battery: Cold weather is hard on batteries, and at zero degrees, a car’s battery loses about 60 percent of its strength. AAA advises motorists get a qualified technician to perform a battery load test.

• Check the tires: Tires should always been inflated to their specific poundage. Tire should also have enough tread to handle all road conditions. Check “wear bars” on the tires.

If the tread has been “worn down to the same height as the wear bar,” AAA contends, “it’s time for new tires.”

• Check the windshield wipers, fluid and defroster: “Driving with a wet, snow or ice-covered windshield invites a crash,” according to AAA.

• Check the engine coolant system.

• Pack an emergency car kit: Be prepared in case you’re stranded. A winter emergency car kit should contain a flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, general first aid kit, tire chains, blanket, extra set of clothes, nonclumping kitty litter for traction, flares or reflective triangles, cell phone with extra batteries, galloon jug of water, non-perishable food items, window-washer solvent, ice scraper, snow brush and a shovel.

Jim Abel, of AAA Colorado’s automotive services, said a small amount of preparation now could prevent motorists from big trouble this winter.

“Getting winter car maintenance completed before the first winter storm can prevent a car from breaking down at the most inopportune time, but also save you from delays in getting service because auto repair facilities get extremely busy once winter weather officially arrives,” Abel said. “Expect lengthy delays if you wait until inclement weather.”

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