What to Know

  • With impending dangerously cold temperatures in mind, the not-for-profit member organization group AAA Northeast shared tips with motorists

  • Another winter storm expected to dump rain and snow on a large part of the tri-state area Tuesday, just ahead of a dangerous arctic blast

  • AAA suggestions include tips for tires, batteries and engine warm up, as well as what to include in a car winter kit

With another winter storm expected to dump rain and snow on a large part of the tri-state area Tuesday, just ahead of a dangerous arctic blast that will send temperatures into the teens, measures should be taken to remain safe — this also includes certain actions that drivers can take in order to make sure their vehicles can start and run in the extreme cold. 

With the impending dangerously cold temperatures in mind, the not-for-profit member organization group AAA Northeast shared tips with motorists:

Battery and Charging System

AAA recommends the battery and charging system be tested if a vehicle’s battery is more than three years old. This is because a good battery can lose up to 50 percent of its capacity when temperatures dip significantly. According to AAA, at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it can take up to 30 percent more battery power to start a cold engine. 

Storm Team 4 Breaks Down Expectations for Tuesday Threat

Tires

Extremely cold temperatures can also contribute to lower tire pressure. Tires lose about one pound of pressure (PSI) for every ten degrees the temperature drops. Installing winter tires on all four wheels will provide the best traction, especially in areas with snowy winter weather, the organization says, adding that all-season tires work well in light-to-moderate snow conditions if they have adequate tread depth. Due to this, AAA recommends checking tires’ tread depth, uneven wearing and cupping. 

Coolant

When it comes to a vehicle’s coolant, AAA recommends checking its level when the engine is cold. If the level is low, a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the antifreeze capability is suggested — this will protect a car’s engine to -34 degrees, AAA says. Additionally, checking the cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks and loose clamps is recommended.

Washer Fluid

AAA suggests that drivers fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that has antifreeze components rated below 20 degrees to prevent freezing and damage to the washer system.

Engine Warm Up

Unlike cars of yesteryear, extensive engine warm ups are not needed even in cold weather, AAA says. Rather, a more fuel-efficient suggestion by the organization is once the car is running, drive reasonably until the engine comes up to operating temps.

And while certain car maintenance, like oil, ignition tune-ups and working wipers should be checked year round, AAA says they should especially be taken a look at during the winter months.

Additionally, drivers are recommended to have a kit to deal with snow, ice and the cold weather. These items include a bag of abrasive material like sand, cat litter or traction mats, a snow shovel and brush, flashlight with extra batteries, window washer solvent, an ice scraper, cloth or roll of paper towels and jumper cables.

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