AAA: Get Your Car Read for the Winter - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

AAA: Get Your Car Read for the Winter

TOWSON, Md. - While the leaves begin to change colors, it's a reminder that Winter is not far away. As part of Car Care Month, AAA-Midatlantic is reminding drivers about the importance of properly maintaining their vehicles. The agency says 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, AAA says 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, AAA says vehicles still require routine services that are important to maintaining the performance and safety of the vehicle.

AAA says 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.

Throughout the month of October, AAA Mid-Atlantic will be offering winter maintenance checks at no charge for AAA members, as well as non-members, at AAA Car Care Insurance and Travel Centers in the auto club's region including Maryland. Motorists will receive a free inspection report that will help document potential problems that should be addressed before the winter driving season arrives. Motorists are advised to call ahead to schedule an appointment.

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. AAA says 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.

AAA says you should also inspect your brakes as recommended in your owner's manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, pulling, noises while braking or longer stopping distance. AAA says you should correct minor brake problems promptly and 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.

AAA also says to 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.

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