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AAA: Maintaining battery, tires is key to preparing your car for winter

Snowy Road with several cars
WKAR photo
Ensuring a strong battery and inflated tires is key to keeping your car ready for winter.

AAA Michigan is reminding drivers to prepare their cars for the winter as cold weather arrives in the state.

The agency says dead car batteries account for most service calls during the chilliest months of the year.

They recommend testing a vehicle’s electrical system if the battery is more than three years old.

AAA Michigan’s Ray Massenberg says battery strength is directly related to air temperature.

“So, if it’s zero degrees Fahrenheit, then the capacity of the battery is reduced by half,” he said. “At the same time, the electrical demand from the starting system is increasing. We can almost predict how many battery calls we’re going to get based on how cold it’s going to get.”

Massenberg says it’s also essential to run on fully inflated tires.

“As the temperature drops, the pressure in your tire decreases by about one pound for every 10 degrees temperature change,” he said. “The U.S. Transportation Department has found out that the average person wastes $200 to $400 a year on fuel just based on underinflated tires.”

Massenberg says winter tires provide the most tread and shortest stopping distance on icy roads.

Kevin Lavery served as a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered before retiring in 2023.
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