AAA Recommends Car Care Checklist to Prepare for Upcoming Winter Driving

AAA Recommends Car Care Checklist to Prepare for Upcoming Winter Driving

In recognition of October as AAA Car Care Month, the nation’s largest motor club reminds drivers seasonal checkups are essential for worry-free driving as weather changes

winter drivingWith the change of seasons most people examine their wardrobes. Last season’s coat is inspected for wear, and boots, sweaters and wool slacks come out of the closet for scrutiny. AAA reminds motorists that cars also need seasonal checkups.

AAA recommends that motorists use a simple checklist to determine their car’s fall and winter maintenance needs. Most of the items on the checklist can be inspected by car owners in less than an hour, but several others should be performed by a certified technician.

One way to identify a reliable, high-quality repair facility with certified technicians is to look for one that is AAA Approved. AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities must meet and maintain high professional standards for customer service, technician training, service equipment, warranties and cleanliness. There are nearly 8000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities in the U.S., and nearby shops can be quickly located at AAA.com/repair.

Winter Car Care Checklist

Battery and Charging System – Have the battery and charging system tested by a trained technician. A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather. AAA members can request a visit from a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician who will test their battery and replace it on-site, if necessary. AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities can also test and replace weak batteries.

Battery Cables and Terminals – Check the condition of the battery cables and terminals. Make sure all connections are secure and remove any corrosion from the terminals and posts.

Drive Belts – Inspect belts for cracks or fraying. Don’t just look at the smooth top surface of the belt, but turn it over and check the grooved underside where most belt wear occurs.

Engine Hoses –Visually inspect the cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Also, squeeze the hoses to check for any that may be brittle or excessively spongy feeling and in need of replacement.

Tire Type and Tread – In areas with heavy winter weather, changing to snow tires on all four wheels will provide the best winter traction. All-season tires will work well in light to moderate snow conditions, providing they have adequate tread depth. If any tire has less than 3/32-inches of tread, it should be replaced. Uneven wear on the tires can indicate alignment, suspension or wheel balance problems that should be addressed to prevent further damage to the tires.

Tire Pressure – Check tire pressure more frequently during winter months. As the temperature drops, so will the pressures in the tires—typically 1 PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The proper tire pressure levels can be found on a sticker located on the driver’s side door jamb. And, don’t forget to check the spare.

Air Filter – Check the engine’s air filter by holding it up to a 60-watt light bulb. If light can be seen through much of the filter, it is still clean enough to work effectively. However, if the light is blocked by most of the filter, replace it.

Coolant Levels – Check the coolant level when the engine is cold. If the coolant level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability. The level of antifreeze protection can be checked with an inexpensive tester available at any auto parts store.

Lights – Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, emergency flashers, turn signals, brake lights and back-up lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs.

Wiper Blades – Blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace blades that leave streaks or miss spots. In areas with snowy conditions, consider installing winter wiper blades that wrap the blade in a rubber boot to prevent ice and snow buildup that can prevent good contact between the rubber blade and the glass.

Washer Fluid – Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a cleaning solution that has antifreeze components for cold weather use.

Brakes – Have brakes inspected by a certified technician to ensure all components are in good working order.

Transmission, Brake and Power Steering Fluids – Check all fluids to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe levels.

Emergency Road Kit – Update the car’s emergency kit for winter weather. The kit should include:

  • Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
  • Snow shovel
  • Snow brush
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Window washer solvent
  • Ice scraper
  • Cloth or roll of paper towels
  • Jumper cables
  • Gloves, hats and blankets
  • Warning devices (flares or triangles)
  • Drinking water
  • Non-perishable snacks (energy or granola bars)
  • Extra clothes
  • First-aid kit
  • Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)
  • Mobile phone and car charger with important numbers programmed in it, including a roadside assistance provider

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Keeping your engine clean…

Car care tips…
Keeping your engine clean…

Tip #1
Use Heavy Duty Gel to cling to vertical surfaces. When degreasing areas under your car like differential covers or oil pans before you change out any of the functional fluids in your car.

Tip #3
Use any one of our Brake Parts Cleaners. Dissolve and flush away built up brake dust, caliper fluid, grease and oil from the parts you’re replacing to ensure a proper fit for your new brake parts.

Tip #2
Use Squeal Medic on your drums and rotors. Before you finish up your brake job to help stop any unwanted squeaks or squeals from starting while you brake in your new pads.

Tip #4
Use Bug-n-Tar remover in the summer months. When most insects get stuck to your grill, bumper and hood area to keep your painted surfaces and metals free from discoloration and corrosion problems caused by insects.

Changing Your Own Oil – Pennzoil – Consumer Auto Parts

Step-by-Step Oil Change Instructions

oil change

1. Park vehicle on level surface, engage parking brake and turn off engine. If necessary, raise front of vehicle by driving it onto a ramp or by jacking it up and supporting it with jack stands.

CAUTION: NEVER GET UNDER A VEHICLE SUPPORTED ONLY BY A JACK! WE ALSO RECOMMEND WHEEL CHOCKS TO HELP PREVENT WHEELS ON THE GROUND FROM ROLLING.

2. Open the hood.

3. Locate the engine oil dipstick and remove (helps the oil flow when draining).

oil change

4. Once the vehicle is safely and securely supported, put on safety glasses, crawl under the vehicle and locate the engine’s oil pan. (See owner’s manual for reference.)

5. Locate the oil drain plug, which is a long bolt head at the bottom of the pan. The drain plug allows the oil to drain out of the pan. (Note: Some vehicles have two drain plugs.)

6. Position a container, such as an approved oil catch pan, under the drain plug. Make sure the catch pan is large enough to hold the volume of oil expected to drain out of the engine. Check your owner’s manual for the volume of oil that you car requires.

oil change

7. Loosen the drain plug using a box-end wrench or 6-pt. socket. Carefully remove the plug by hand, making sure the catch pan is underneath the plug hole. Oil will flow rapidly from the hole, but allow several minutes for all old oil to drain out. (See vehicle owner’s manual for additional information.) CAUTION: OIL MAY BE HOT!

oil change

8. Wipe the oil pan threads and oil drain plug with a rag, and visually inspect the condition of the oil pan and oil drain plug threads and gasket. Buy a replacement drain plug if you have any concerns about the condition of the plug. Replace the drain plug gasket if needed (some OEMs recommend this). Once the oil is finished draining, reinstall the oil drain plug and tighten with the correct box-end wrench or 6-pt. socket to the manufacturer-specified torque. (See owner’s manual.)

oil change

9. Locate the oil filter. If the old and new oil filters are not the same, double-check the application to be sure you have the correct filter. (See vehicle’s owner’s manual for additional information.)

10. Position an oil catch pan under oil filter to catch any residual oil remaining inside filter.

oil change

11. Loosen the oil filter or oil filter cap with oil filter wrench, and allow the oil to drain from the oil filter.

12. Remove the oil filter. Check to make sure the filter gasket has come off with the filter. If it’s still clinging to the engine mounting plate, remove it and any remaining residue.

oil change

13. Place a light coating of new oil on the gasket of the new oil filter so it will install smoothly onto the engine. (Note: Do not use grease!) By hand, install the new oil filter onto the engine by turning in a clockwise direction. Once the oil filter gasket first contacts the mounting plate gasket surface, tighten the filter according to the directions for your application (usually found on the new oil filter or oil filter box), preferably by hand. Generally, this is three-quarters to one full turn after the filter gasket contacts the engine. (NOTE: Cartridge oil filter replacement procedures may differ. See owner’s or service manual for instructions.)

oil change

14. Under the hood, remove the oil fill cap and pour in the correct amount of Pennzoil® motor oil of the correct viscosity with a funnel. (See vehicle’s owner’s manual for recommended grade, specification and amount.)

15. Replace the oil fill cap.

oil change

16. Start the engine and run at idle for minimum of 30 seconds. Carefully inspect under the vehicle for oil leaks (especially by oil drain plug and oil filter). If leaks are visible, shut off the engine immediately and have the leaks repaired.

 

oil change

17. Shut off the engine and allow 30 seconds for oil to settle in the engine. Carefully inspect the area beneath the vehicle for oil leaks.

18. Safely lower the vehicle to level ground.

oil change

19. Install and remove oil dipstick and check for proper oil level, adding more oil if necessary. (See the vehicle’s owner’s manual for oil capacity and recommended oil level on dipstick.)

20. Repeat oil change with Pennzoil® motor oil as directed by manufacturer’s guidelines.

These instructions are intended as general guidelines. Please consult your owner’s or service manual for specific instructions on changing the oil and filter on your vehicle. Use extreme caution when lifting or jacking any vehicle.

WHAT KIND OF DAMAGE DOES A POTHOLE CAUSE TO YOUR CAR?

WHAT KIND OF DAMAGE DOES A POTHOLE CAUSE TO YOUR CAR?

Don’t look now, but you’re probably about to hit another pothole.

Drivers know immediately when they hit a pothole, but what they don’t know is if their vehicle has been damaged in the process. While tires and wheels can be visually checked, potholes can also cause considerable damage to the steering, suspension and alignment systems that you just can’t see.

Motorists will spend nearly $5 billion on car repairs from damage caused by potholes, according to a recent report by WJLA-TV in Washington D.C. The U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) estimate that poor road conditions cost the average motorist around $335 a year.

If you hit a pothole while driving, the Car Care Council recommends that you watch for the following warning signs and have your vehicle inspected by a professional technician without delay.

  • Loss of control, swaying when making routine turns, bottoming out on city streets or bouncing excessively on rough roads. These are indicators that the steering and suspension may have been damaged. The steering and suspension are key safety-related systems. Together, they largely determine your car’s ride and handling. Key components are shocks and/or struts, the steering knuckle, ball joints, the steering rack/box, bearings, seals and hub units and tie rod ends.
  • Pulling in one direction, instead of maintaining a straight path, and uneven tire wear. These symptoms mean there’s an alignment problem. Proper wheel alignment is important for the lifespan of tires and helps ensure safe handling.
  • Low tire pressure, bulges or blisters on the sidewalls, or dents in the rim. These problems will be visible and should be checked out as soon as possible as tires are the critical connection between your car and the road in all sorts of driving conditions.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council’s Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.

Consumer Auto Parts

Consumer Auto Parts

Meguiar’s Holiday Gift Kits: Car care packages for the automotive enthusiast

Meguiar’s Holiday Gift Kits: Car care packages for the automotive enthusiast in your life

Car care packages for the automotive enthusiast in your life

Meguiar Clean Shine Holiday Gift Kit 01
Michael Johnson
Technical Editor
November 23, 2016

Just in time for the holiday season, Meguiar’s releases car care packages designed to keep your or your significant other’s Mustang looking good. This line of car care packages has everything you need to take care of your Mustang’s exterior and interior. So when you have exhausted your list of Christmas presents for yourself or your favorite Mustang enthusiast, here are a few ideas to make sure you have everything on their list.

Meguiar’s Clean & Shine Car Cleaning Kit includes the company’s Deep Car Wash, Gold Class Quik Wax, Quik Interior Detailer, and Perfect Clarity Glass Cleaner. Sold exclusively through Kmart and Sears stores, the Clean & Shine Car Cleaning Kit is the least expensive of the three we’ll list here. At just $15, it’s the perfect gift for someone you only like a little.

Regardless of the car care kit you choose, Meguiar’s has the products you need in order to keep your Mustang clean. We present three just in time to put under the tree for your favorite Mustang enthusiast.

 

WINTER CAR CARE TIPS

COLD WEATHER CAN WREAK HAVOC ON YOUR VEHICLE. DON’T WAIT UNTIL IT FREEZES – WINTERIZE YOUR CAR OR TRUCK WITH THESE EXPERT TIPS FROM TURTLE WAX.

Check Tires

Damaged tires are no match for sleek, slippery roads. Get tires winter-ready by examining for thin or uneven tread wear, which reduces traction and can be very dangerous in winter weather. Cut or damaged sidewalls are also weak areas that can collapse under severe weather conditions. Remember to check the air pressure before and during winter months to ensure the best traction and mileage.

 

Once your tires are in good shape, apply tire cleaner and coating such as Turtle Wax® Jet Black™ Endura-Shine Tire Coat to help repel winter elements for months!

 

Wax On, Winter Off

Winter weather can dull your car’s paint and shine, making it susceptible to rust and oxidation. To keep your vehicle clean and protected all winter long make sure to thoroughly wax your car before the cold weather hits. For best results, wash your car with a product like Turtle Wax® ICE ® Wash and follow with Turtle Wax® ICE® Liquid or Paste Wax to protect your vehicles surface from road salt and snow.  Concentrate on the lower parts of your car such as behind the wheels, quarter panels, and front grille where ice, snow and salt hit hard and stay the longest.

 

Check Fluids

Maintaining proper fluid levels is critical to keeping your car working properly during the winter. A common mistake is forgetting to replace or top-off summer windshield wiper fluid with a winter blend that will not freeze when the temperature drops.

 

Check your antifreeze and oil levels to prevent internal damage to your car, and keep your gas tank at least halfway full to help prevent gas line freeze. Winter prep should also include an oil change.

 

Make sure you’re not stranded in the cold with a car that won’t start.  Use Marvel Mystery Oil® as an engine and fuel additive to promote better cold weather starting.

 

Care for Your Interior

Winter elements can also cause damage to the inside of your car.  When tracked-in mud, slush and snow enter your car, prevent it from staining your interior and keep your floor mats clean, use Turtle Wax® Quick & Easy ™ Interior 1 Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner.

 

Also, be sure to remove any water-based products in containers that can freeze and crack, as well as any unnecessary items that can weigh down your car and lower fuel efficiency.

 

Always Be Prepared

Winter can be unpredictable; so don’t wait for the first snow to fall to put the ice scraper and snow shovel in the car. Keep an emergency winter kit in the trunk in case of an accident or other bad weather situation. Recommended emergency items include a small first aid kit, flashlight, blanket, gloves, shovel, and road flares.

 

© Turtle Wax, Inc 2014

Fall car care checklist

By Tom Morr, automedia.com

Just as you should check your smoke detectors’ batteries every time autumn comes around, preventive car maintenance procedures can keep automotive disaster from striking. Depending on where you live, the weather can change overnight – for instance, Colorado often gets snow as early as Labor Day. So applying the Boy Scout motto to colder-weather motoring can make the difference between getting there and back – or not.

Car traveling down a road in fall with changing leaves

Fall car care checklist

Fall car maintenance

Year-round routine car maintenance is the best way to make your vehicle perform stronger and last longer. The regimen should include car tune-ups and inspection/replacement of worn belts and hoses. As the weather cools, consider changing to synthetic lubricants, which work across a wider temperature range than conventional oils. These high-tech oils cost more, so an alternative is to use lighter-weight oils in colder weather.

Cooling system

Consult your owner’s manual for proper coolant mix, which is often about a 60/40 antifreeze-to-water ratio. Another trick is to install a higher-temperature thermostat. This will improve heater performance and help the engine warm up faster. However, some computer-controlled vehicles might not be compatible with non-factory temperature thermostats.

Heater

Since the car heater and defroster work off the cooling system, check heater hoses while inspecting the radiator hoses. Coolant on the floorboard is one common sign of a leaky heater core. Also, vacuum/blow all leaves and debris out of the ducts.

Battery

If your battery has removable caps, make sure that all cells are filled with distilled water. Keep all battery terminals and cable ends clean. When jump-starting, never connect the jumper cables’ ground clamp to the dead battery’s negative post. Instead, use an engine-mounted bracket as the grounding location. In colder weather, this can keep a frozen battery from exploding.

Fuel system

Keep the gas tank as full as possible. Aside from the obvious, this limits condensation in the gas tank to minimize water – which can freeze – in the fuel line. “Antigel” additives are available, particularly for diesel-powered vehicles. On non-fuel-injected cars, keep the choke/carburetor butterfly lubricated so it won’t stick.

Windshield

Check the wiper blades for deterioration and consider upgrading to winter/snow blades. Park the blades before turning off the vehicle or lift them off the glass so they won’t freeze overnight. Fill the washer fluid reservoir with winter fluid, and never put hot water on a cold windshield.

Body

Waxing, particularly with a carnauba-based product, will help the paint withstand road salt and other foul-weather grime. Lubricate door hinges with silicone spray so they won’t squeak when the weather changes. Spraying the locks and weatherstripping will help keep doors and trunks from freezing shut.

Tires

Air condenses in cooler weather, and we’re all well-educated now on the hazards of underinflated tires. Keep tires inflated to the manufacturer’s recommendation on the sticker found in the glove box or on the doorjamb. Check the condition/inflation of the spare. Store snow tires horizontally during the off-season to prevent flat-spotting. Practice fitting snow chains before the start of winter.

Auto care products

Lastly, the automotive aftermarket unveils an array of cold-weather solutions every autumn. These products are designed to heat almost every aspect of your vehicle: from its coolant to its oil, from its battery to it locks and even its occupants. Always plan ahead to minimize the stress of cold-weather driving.