Prepare now for winter driving

COLUMBUS — Ohio’s roadside assistance calls skyrocket during winter, as cold and snow lead to spin outs and breakdowns. In recognition of October as Car Care Month, motorists are urged to prepare their vehicles now for the wintry months ahead.

AAA rescued nearly 1.1 million Ohio motorists during 2016, despite two back-to-back mild winters. Calls more than double during bitter cold and snow, leaving many stranded as they wait for assistance. But, a simple fall car check-up can help prevent breakdowns and save Ohioans time and money this winter.

Fall car check-up

Battery: Starting an engine in cold weather requires a fully charged battery in good condition, yet two-thirds of drivers never check their battery before it dies, according to AAA research. Batteries last an average of 3-5 years, so it’s important to get it tested if it’s 3-years old or older. AAA responded to nearly 223,000 battery-related calls in 2016.

Tires: The cold can decrease tire pressure and make tires susceptible to going flat. Proper tire pressure levels can be found on a sticker located on the driver’s side door jamb. Tire treads helps grip winter roads. Check for low tread depth and uneven wear. Motorists should check tire pressure and tread depth at least once a month.

Fluids: Issues with fluid levels or condition is the top finding when AAA inspects vehicles. Make sure the oil, power steering, brake and coolant fluids are at recommended levels. Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a cleaning solution that has antifreeze components for cold weather use.

Lights and Wiper Blades: These are both essential to visibility when driving during the winter, with shorter daylight hours and winter precipitation. Check all lights, and replace burnt out bulbs. Ensure wipers complete clear the glass without streaks.

Emergency Kit: Just in case, keep the car stocked with jumper cables, blankets, a flashlight with extra batteries, an ice scraper, reflectors, a shovel, a bag of abrasive material (kitty litter, salt or sand), a first-aid kit, water and non-perishable food, and a mobile phone charger.

Empowering women to take on car care

AAA Ohio is celebrating Car Care Month by empowering local women to take their car care knowledge to the next level by attending one of 10 Girls’ Night at the Garage events. These events will take place during October at central Ohio AAA Car Care Plus locations.

During each event, local women will learn tips for everything from checking the oil to changing a tire. They’ll get hands-on experience practicing maintenance on a vehicle and will end the evening with a team competition to showcase the skills they learned.

Additional information and registration is available at

Kimberly Schwind is the senior public relations manager for Ohio AAA Auto Club.

Kimberly Schwind is the senior public relations manager for Ohio AAA Auto Club.