It’s not too late to minimize winter car problems

By: Eric Czarnik | C&G Newspapers | Published January 5, 2015

 Because cold temperatures are expected in January, it is recommended that drivers first make sure their car batteries are checked by a professional.

Because cold temperatures are expected in January, it is recommended that drivers first make sure their car batteries are checked by a professional.

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Although the Christmas presents have been opened and a new year has started, it still isn’t too late to buy a few important items to keep in your vehicle during the cold winter months.

According to Susan Hiltz, public affairs director at AAA Michigan, winter is no time to get complacent, even if temperatures weren’t so frigid in December. She recommended that drivers remember to check some important parts of their cars as well as supplies.

Because cold temperatures are expected in January, Hiltz recommended that drivers first make sure their car components are prepared. She said they should get their car batteries checked by a professional, and they should also have worn windshield wiper blades replaced.

“Make sure that you’ve got cold weather windshield wiper solvent,” she added. “Some of them are more for warmer weather.”

She also urged motorists to make sure no engine drivability problems are occurring, such as a hard start, rough idling or stalling.

“If you’ve got any of those problems, they’ll get worse with the cold weather,” she said.

Burned-out bulbs should also be replaced to ensure safe and adequate vehicle lighting, she added.

When it comes to supplies, Hiltz recommended taking along an ice scraper and snowbrush that can be handy for keeping windows clear of accumulation. It also helps to pack along an emergency kit containing tools like jumper cables, first aid kits, bungee cords and more, she said.

And she explained the benefits of storing away a bag of cat litter or rocks that can go underneath tires in case they’re stuck in a rut.

If a car gets stranded, some warmer clothes can protect against the bitter cold, and a supply of water or food such as granola bars can supply emergency nutrition.

“Always have a cellphone charger in your car because the cellphone is probably one of the most important things to have in case you get stranded,” she added.

Hiltz also recommended not leaving a stranded vehicle since it may be even more dangerous venturing out onto a slippery road. Instead, it’s better to use the cellphone to call law enforcement, emergency aid or road service, she said.

Learn more about AAA Michigan by visiting www.michigan.aaa.com.