Motorists To Prepare For New Season of Driving

Motorists delaying winter check-up advised not to wait any longer.


TOWSON, MD (November 3, 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Inspect all lights and bulbs and replace burned out bulbs. Clean road grime or clouding from all lenses.
  5. Have your mechanic check the exhaust system for leaks and look for any holes in the trunk and floorboards.
  6. 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
    • Drinking water
    • First-aid kit
    • Non-perishable snacks for both human and pet passengers
    • Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
    • Snow shovel
    • Blankets
    • Extra warm clothing (gloves, hats, scarves)
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • Window washer solvent
    • Ice scraper with brush
    • Cloth or roll of paper towels
    • Jumper cables
    • Warning devices (flares or triangles)
    • Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)