Tips to avoid car trouble during freezing weather

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – With temperatures in the single digits and wind chills frequently dipping below zero, drivers should plan ahead to avoid vehicle breakdowns.

AAA on Thursday offered some tips for drivers to make sure cars are in peak driving condition before hitting the road.

  • Battery: Vehicles over three years old should have their batteries tested to ensure they are functioning properly. Cold batteries require more power to start.
  • Coolant: Check coolant levels in the overflow tank. Make sure cooling system hoses are not leaking to protect your vehicle’s engine in cold weather.
  • Oil: Change oil regularly, per your manufacturer’s recommendations. Oil becomes thicker in cold weather, meaning it is extra important to make sure oil levels are not low. Consider using fully synthetic oil, which performs better at low temperatures.
  • Washer fluid: Regularly refill your car’s washer fluid tank with a solution rated for below-freezing conditions. Low washer fluid could make clearing the windshield of salt and ice more difficult.
  • Tires: Check that treads are not worn down and that all tires, including spare, are properly inflated. Consider putting snow tires on your vehicle for the winter.
  • Wipers: Replace wiper blades that do not properly clear the windshield or leave streaks behind.

AAA says extensive vehicle warm-ups are not required for a vehicle’s engine, even in cold weather. Instead, the best way to protect your engine is to drive slowly and carefully for the first few minutes until the engine has enough time to fully warm up.

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