Fall also a good time to assemble winter emergency kit to keep in car for cold weather breakdowns

October is Car Care Month, and now is an ideal time for a seasonal checkup of key vehicle systems to ensure worry-free driving once cold weather and winter driving conditions approach, according to AAA Kansas.

“AAA Kansas recommends motorists use a simple checklist to determine their vehicle’s fall and winter maintenance needs,” said Shawn Steward, AAA Kansas spokesman. “Many of the items on the list can be inspected by a car owner in less than an hour, but others should be performed by a certified technician.”

Motorists can identify reliable, high-quality repair shops with certified technicians by looking for the AAA Approved Auto Repair sign. These facilities must meet and maintain high professional standards for customer service, technician training, tools, equipment, warranties and cleanliness. Nearby Kansas shops can be located at AAA.com/repair.

Harsh winter conditions make your vehicle work harder, particularly the charging and starting system, headlights, tires and windshield wipers. AAA Kansas recommends that motorists:

Clean any corrosion from battery posts and cable connections and wash all surfaces with battery terminal cleaner or a solution of baking soda and water. Have the battery checked by a professional to ensure it is strong enough to face 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 shops can also test and replace weak batteries.

Have any engine drivability problems corrected at a good repair shop. Symptoms like hard starts, rough idling, stalling or diminished power could signal a problem that would be exacerbated by cold weather.

Replace worn windshield-wiper blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase one-piece beam-type or rubber-clad “winter” blades to fight snow and ice build-up. Use cold-weather windshield washer solvent and carry an ice-scraper.

Inspect all lights and bulbs and replace burned out bulbs. Clean road grime or clouding from all lenses.

Have your mechanic check the exhaust system for leaks and look for any holes in the trunk and floorboards.

Examine tires for tread depth, uneven wearing and cupping. Check tire pressures once a month when tires are cold, before driving for any distance.

According to AAA Kansas’ Steward, now is also a great time to begin assembling an emergency kit (See attached photo.) equipped for winter weather to carry in your vehicle. This kit is especially important if you’ll be driving any distance and winter weather is forecast. The kit should include:

* Mobile phone pre-programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers including family and emergency services, and car charger

* Drinking water

* First-aid kit

* Non-perishable snacks for both human and pet passengers

* Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats

* Snow shovel

* Blankets

* Extra warm clothing (coat, gloves, hats, scarves)

* Flashlight with extra batteries

* Window washer solvent

* Ice scraper with brush

* Cloth or roll of paper towels

* Jumper cables

* Warning devices (flares or triangles)

* Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)

Many of the winter emergency items listed above – plus pre-assembled multi-item kits including the 73-piece Explorer Road Kit and 66-piece Winter Safety Road Kit – are available, at a discount to AAA members, in the online store at AAA.com.

AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than 342,000 members in Kansas. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.