Preparing your vehicle ahead of winter weather

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. – With winter weather ahead, it’s a good idea to ensure you’re prepared if you must be on the road. AAA says they will be going out in full force to assist drivers, but there are some actions to take now if you want to avoid having to make that call.

Winter precipitation moving in with the cold temperatures—like much of the area will be seeing over the next week—can create several problems for your vehicle, especially if it is not weather-ready.

Nick Chabarria, spokesperson for AAA, says they will be getting a lot of calls for dead batteries once the colder air moves in.

“When the temperature drops below freezing, it loses about 35% of its starting power, and that only increases the colder it gets,” Chabarria said. “Making sure you have a good-working battery is going to help you make sure you’re not stranded somewhere you don’t want to be.”

AAA recommends having your battery tested if it is over three years old so it can be preemptively replaced ahead of potentially getting stranded away from home.

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The second biggest concern is tire pressure, as tires lose about a pound of pressure for every 10-degree drop in temperature.  

“Making sure (your tires are) properly inflated is not only going to give you good gas mileage out on the road but (it is) also going to make sure you have good traction when that snow and slush starts to cover the roadway,” Chabarria said.

Drivers should also check the tread depth of their tires.

According to Chabarria, a good way to test this is to stick a quarter in the tread. If the top of Washington’s head is visible, it is likely time to get new tires.

If you do have to drive in winter weather, there are a few things you should keep inside your vehicle. This includes a snow brush and ice scraper, a way to stay warm if your vehicle stops running, such as blankets or jackets, as well as a snow shovel, jumper cables, and a small toolkit.

However, the most important item you can have on you is a charged cell phone and a way to charge it should you need to call for help. If you do get stuck on the side of the road or involved in a crash, you’re advised to stay in your vehicle.


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