Our Car Care Month sweepstakes closed on October 31.  
(Winners will be notified by November 15th.)
 
However, it’s still a great time to take care of your vehicle’s issues before the cold weather hits.
Read on for some great tips and advice.
AAA Car Battery Service

Battery Testing

We want to help you avoid a breakdown this winter. Have your battery tested by a AAA trained technician to identify problems before cold weather hits. AAA Car Battery Service will come to you and test your existing battery. If you need a replacement, we can do that on the spot too. All our AAA batteries are the best in the business and come with a 6-year limited warranty (3 years free replacement, 3 years limited).

If you’d like your battery tested, call and request roadside service through our new online system or by calling 413-785-1381. (Note, that this battery test will count as one of your four allotted roadside calls per year, in accordance with your AAA membership terms and agreements.)

The Car Doctor’s Top Tips to Get Ready for Winter

We’ve asked John Paul, AAAs Car Doctor, and Automotive expert, for his best advice on how to take care of your car this season. Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or leave all the work to a professional, there are a few things you should always keep an eye on.

Cold temperature both limits your car battery’s power output while simultaneously requiring more power to work. “A car engine needs about 30% more energy to start when the temperatures drop to freezing,” Paul said. “And at zero degrees your vehicle battery can only deliver at 50% of its rated capacity.” Paul recommends getting your battery tested if it’s more than 3 years old and replacing it if it’s more than 5 years old. Battery calls are the #1 reason for roadside emergency calls throughout AAA Northeast’s territory.
Not properly maintain your vehicle’s vital fluids could cause serious damage your car. “The antifreeze/engine coolant should be clean and protect the engine against freezing,” Paul said. “A 50/50 mix of engine coolant and water will protect an engine to 34 degrees below zero.” Other fluids to inspect, replace or refill include freeze-resistant washer fluid, transmission fluid, engine oil and power steering and brake fluid.
Although designed to last much longer than in years’ past, drive belts and hoses will still fail.  If a radiator or heater hose leaks, the coolant will run low and the engine will overheat, possibly destroying the engine. If a drive belt breaks, the battery could become discharged and the engine could overheat.
Some engines still use rubber timing belts that connect the camshaft and crankshaft inside the engine. Depending on the type of engine, a broken timing belt can cause a wide range of damage. If a timing belt breaks on an interference engine, the engine valves and piston will collide and destroy the engine. On a non-interference engine, the engine won’t sustain damage but will stop running at the most inopportune time, resulting in a tow. Replace the timing belt as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
Brake wear is one of the few issues almost totally determined by the driver. In general, most car brakes can last 40,000 miles or more, although aggressive drivers or very cautious drivers can accelerate brake wear. Many vehicles have a warning sensor that creates a high-pitched squeal when the brake pads are almost worn out. Brake condition should be checked periodically by a qualified technician.
Tires are the only part of your vehicle that touches the ground and are critical to the safe operation of a vehicle. A car with new brakes and worn tires will not stop properly. Tires that are worn below 4/32nds of an inch of tread depth can take a dangerously long time to stop in wet and snowy weather. Consider switching to winter tires, which have tread patterns and rubber compounds specifically designed for optimal traction on slick roads.
The Car Doctor

Ask the Car Doctor

Have a question on car care, maintenance or a specific issue with your vehicle? Send it to the Car Doctor and he’ll get back to you with a personal response within a day or two.

 

Learn More

Battery Know-How

Watch the Car Doctor’s short videos to learn more about battery care and how to keep it running all year long!
  • Is Your Battery Charged?

    Is Your Battery Charged

  • What are Battery Tenders?

    What are Battery Tenders?

What to do if you break down

Despite your best efforts, you may have to call for roadside assistance at some point.  Cars have parts that break, flat tires happen “out of nowhere” and crashes are often unavoidable. Preparation is the key to staying calm and composed when you break down.

Download our guide “What to do when your vehicle breaks down” and keep it in your car.

Be Prepared

Each winter, AAA responds to more than one million roadside assistance calls in the Northeast. Yet, more than 40% or drivers do not have emergency kits in their vehicles. AAA recommends you keep the following items in your car to prepare for winter weather.

  • Mobile phone and car charger
  • First-aid kit
  • Blanket(s) and/or extra sweatshirt or jacket
  • Drinking water and snacks.  Don’t forget your pet!
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Rags, paper towels, or wipes
  • Basic toolkit, including duct tape and warning devices such as flares or reflectors
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Jumper cables or jump pack
  • Traction aid, such as sand, salt, or non-clumping kitty litter
  • Tarp, raincoat, and gloves
  • Small shovel
roadside-assistance