CHARLOTTE – The temperatures may have warmed again for a little while longer, but AAA Carolinas is taking last weekend’s cold snap as an opportunity to tell you to winterize you car.

Director of Communications Angela Daley says there are two main parts of the car to keep an eye on in the cold months.

“The biggest factors we see with cooler weather are batteries and tires,” Daley says. “So it’s important to get those checked this time of year.”

Temperatures dropped into the 20s in the Triangle during the weekend. Daley says with lower temperatures your tire pressure can often be affected.

“One thing we see is tire pressure is usually decreased when the weather gets colder,” Daley says. “So, it’s important to check your tire pressure. You can find that either in your owner’s manual or on the sticker on the inside of your door.”

And if the Triangle should get any snow this year, Daley says it’s important that you have good tread on your tires.

“We recommend that you replace your tires when you have less than 3/32nd inches of tread,” Daley says. “Another thing you can do is take a penny and put it in your tire tread, and if it doesn’t cover Lincoln’s head, you know you need to replace your tire.”

Winter Car Care Checklist:

  • Battery and Charging System – Have your 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. When the temperature is below freezing, a battery only generates 60% of its current charge.
  • Tire Type and Tread – In areas with heavy winter weather, installing snow tires on all four wheels will provide the best winter traction. All-season tires work well in light-to-moderate snow conditions provided they have adequate tread depth. Replace any tire that has less than 3/32-inches of tread.
  • Tire Pressure – Check tire inflation pressure on all four tires and the spare more frequently in fall and winter. As the average temperature drops, so will the pressure in your tires – typically by one PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Incorrect tire pressure can reduce your vehicle’s fuel economy by 3-4%. Proper tire pressure levels can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker typically located on the inside of the driver’s side door. Tire pressure should be checked when your tires are cold – before you have driven one mile if possible.
  • Lights – Visibility is important – particularly when it starts getting darker earlier. Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and back-up lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs.
  • Wiper Blades – The blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots. In areas with snow, consider installing winter wiper blades that wrap the blade frame in a rubber boot to reduce ice and snow buildup, which can prevent good contact between the blade and the glass.
  • Washer Fluid – Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that has antifreeze components to prevent it from freezing.
  • Transmission, Brake and Power Steering Fluids – Check all fluids to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe levels.