AAA warns drivers to winterize their cars

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HARTFORD --  As Connecticut braces for single-digit temperatures later this week, AAA offers these tips to keep you and your vehicle going:

  • Check for battery warning signs: The average life of a battery is 3-5 years, but driving conditions, climate and lack of care and maintenance can shorten a battery’s lifespan. Here are some warning signs that you are at risk for a battery-related breakdown:
    • Your vehicle cranks slowly when trying to start
    • You hear a grinding, clicking or buzzing when you turn the ignition on
    • Your vehicle has stalled
    • Your headlights dim when you are idling but brighten when you rev the engine
    • Your battery is more than three years old
  •  What to do if you suspect your battery is failing: If you suspect an old battery is to blame for your vehicle trouble, call AAA. Battery testing is provided as part of the free roadside assistance service members are entitled to each year.  As a benefit to members, AAA’s Mobile Battery Service can install a new AAA battery and recycle the old battery for you.
  • Keep an eye on your tires: Cold weather can reduce tire pressure, so check tires frequently and maintain the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure found on the driver’s door jamb—not the pressure stamped on the tire sidewall. Motorists should never reduce tire pressure in an attempt to increase traction on snow and ice. This does not work, and when the roads dry out it can cause excessive tire wear and vehicle handling problems.
  • Frozen locks: To help prevent icing, use silicone or graphite spray, sprayed into the lock. If your lock is already frozen, carefully warm up the key. Commercial deicers are also available at hardware and automotive stores. AAA does not recommend pouring hot water into or around your door lock because the water will freeze.
  • Electric vehicle cold-weather range anxiety: AAA reminds electric vehicle owners that their range may be reduced in cold conditions. The cold limits battery performance and running the heater drains the battery. Newer electric vehicles can travel more than 100 miles with a full charge, but AAA tests found that EV range can be reduced by an average of 57 percent when temperatures drop to 20 degrees.
  • Carry an emergency roadside kit: AAA encourages motorists to carry an emergency roadside kit for winter that includes the following items:
    •  fully-charged mobile phone and car charger
    •  blankets
    •  flashlight with extra batteries
    • first-aid kit
    • drinking water and snacks
    • small shovel and sack of sand, cat litter or traction mats
    • windshield scraper and brush
    • battery booster cables
    • emergency flares or reflectors