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AAA tips to get your car ready for winter

10/27/2014, 9 a.m.
October is Car Care Month and AAA Mid-Atlantic is reminding drivers about the importance of properly maintaining their vehicles.
AAA offers helpful tips to get your car ready for winter driving.

— October is Car Care Month and AAA Mid-Atlantic is reminding drivers about the importance of properly maintaining their vehicles. There are a few simple tasks every driver can do to ensure their car is road ready for the winter ahead.

“Learning how to handle common maintenance issues is beneficial to anyone who gets behind the wheel,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Proper maintenance can extend the life of your vehicle, help prevent costly repairs, and avoid potentially dangerous breakdowns while on the road.”

In the past, vehicle maintenance needs were relatively simple and consistent across automakers. Today’s engineering advancements require less maintenance at less frequent intervals. Examples include oil-change intervals now recommended at 5,000 to 10,000 or more miles; transmission fluids designed to last 100,000 miles and sealed batteries that never need to have fluid added. Even with these advancements, vehicles still require routine services that are important to maintaining the performance and safety of the vehicle.

October is the perfect month for motorists to make sure their vehicle is winter ready. The weather is mild and there is plenty of time to deal with any potentially costly repairs before the winter weather arrives. To ensure your vehicle is properly maintained, AAA Mid-Atlantic recommends that motorists:

·Read and follow the maintenance requirements and schedule set by your car’s manufacturer in the owner’s manual to avoid under-or over-maintaining your vehicle. Oil changes, tire rotations, changing transmission fluid, and replacing an air filter are the types of routine maintenance procedures recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. There is no longer a “standard” maintenance schedule for vehicle services. Each automaker has different requirements, making your owner’s manual the most accurate resource.

·Inspect brakes as recommended in your owner’s manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, pulling, noises while braking or longer stopping distance. Correct minor brake problems promptly. Check your owner’s manual to see if the brake fluid should be changed at a specific interval. If no interval is specified for brake fluid service, AAA suggests flushing the system every two years or anytime the brake system is serviced.

·Follow the recommendations of in-vehicle maintenance reminders, as they have the best information to determine maintenance needs for your vehicle

because they account for how you actually drive. However, many reminder systems do not specifically cover maintenance operations that need to be performed on a time or mileage basis— such as brake fluid and coolant flushes or timing-belt replacement.

·Every car requires routine maintenance and repair so work with a local automotive repair shop you trust. The best time to find a mechanic or auto

repair shop is before you need one. Start by asking friends and family for recommendations of repair shops and mechanics. Visit AAA.com to find nearby AAA Car Care Centers and AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, take your

vehicle to your top candidate shop for routine maintenance. While there, talk with the employees and take a look at the facility and consider the following questions:

*Does the facility have up to date equipment?

*Were you offered a written estimate?

*Does the shop offer a nationwide warranty on parts and labor?

*Are customer areas clean, comfortable and well organized?

For more information, please visit our web site at www.AAA.com.