Oct. 29--As the winter months draw closer, temperatures will take a sharp decline, which can be detrimental to vehicles.
Angela Daley, Carolina AAA director of communications, said batteries and tires are two of the biggest problems people have with cars when the temperatures get below freezing.
"With batteries, you only get about a 60 percent charge when temperatures get that low, and if you have a low battery to begin with, the car may not start," Daley said. "The best to do is get the battery checked, and if there are issues, replace it now.
"Also, it's best to check tire tread, especially if you're driving in areas with ice, snow and sleet. It's best to replace tires with less than 3/32 of an inch of tread. The way you can tell is by putting a penny in the tire tread. If the tread doesn't cover Lincoln's head, your tires need to be replaced."
Clifton Kimberlin, the manager of Beard's Automotive Center, said he deals with many vehicles with battery and tire troubles, and pinpointed another more serious issue.
"When it's really hot or really cold, there are more battery issues," Kimberlin said. "During the winter time, there are more tire pressure issues and Lord forbid people haven't had their antifreeze checked.
"If the antifreeze isn't at the right level or it freezes, it could ruin the engine. With the battery, you would need a charge and be alright. As far as tire pressure, if it's low, the cold weather can make the tires wear out faster."
Kimberlin believes the best thing for citizens to do to preserve their vehicles is to have routine checkups.
"People need to get their cars serviced regularly," Kimberlin said. "Any reputable shop will check tire pressure and antifreeze protection levels."
Owner Ray Beard said the extremes of hot and cold weather can hurt vehicles in different ways.
"Cold weather affects cars different than hot weather," Beard said. "The cold weather affects heating systems because people don't check the antifreeze properly. During the summertime, the air conditioning is affected."
Daley stressed the importance of checking tire pressure -- something she says is rarely checked by vehicle owners, but holds plenty of importance.
"Tire pressure drops 1 psi (pounds per square inch) per 10 degrees Fahrenheit," Daley said. "People need to check that because not only does it affect wear and tear, it also hurts fuel efficiency. People can either look in the owner's manual or sticker on the imprint of the door to see how much air needs to be in the tires. It's different for each manufacturer."
Daley said this time of the year is great when it comes to having maintenance done on automobiles.
"October is a good month to get checked and give vehicles a good once-over because of changing temperatures," Daley said.
Junious Smith III can be reached at 252-559-1077 and Junious.Smith@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JuniousSmithIII.
Here are some of the items requiring checks during the winter months:
* Battery and charging system
* Tire type and tread
* Tire pressure
* Wiper blades
* Washer fluid
* Transmission, brake and power steering fluids
Source: AAA Carolinas
(c)2013 The Free Press (Kinston, N.C.)
Visit The Free Press (Kinston, N.C.) at www.kinston.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Original headline: It's time to get your car checked out
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