If you’re a long-time resident of the Twin Cities area, you know how harsh our winters can get. That’s why, of all the seasons, it’s winter that poses the greatest risk for damage and deterioration to your vehicle. Curious what you can do to protect your car or truck from the damaging effects of harsh winter weather? The auto mechanics at AA Auto Tech share valuable tips below.


1. Factory-Recommended Maintenance

Before you take any other preparative measures, open up your owner’s manual and flip to the page that contains its factory-recommended service schedule. If you’re behind on routine maintenance, take care of that first.


2. Address Any Glaring Concerns

If your vehicle has any noticeable issues you haven’t attended to yet — rough starts, rough idling, inconsistent power, rough shifting, etc. — take it to a reputable auto repair shop stat. Freezing temperatures will undoubtedly exacerbate existing vehicle issues. Look for ASE-certified auto mechanics with a track record of quality service, fair pricing, and honest workmanship.


Not sure which auto repair shop you can trust in the Twin Cities? Check out AA Auto Tech’s track record of quality service!


3. Cooling System Flush & Refill

If your vehicle’s cooling system doesn’t have the proper amount, concentration, and type of fluid, you’ll run into problems when freezing weather hits. Cooling system failure is the number one cause of engine-related breakdowns, and in the dead of a Minnesota winter, that’s the last thing you need. That’s why it’s so important to have your vehicle’s cooling system checked before winter.


Your auto mechanic can determine whether the existing fluid is at the proper concentration and level inside the reservoir. And, if your fluid hasn’t been changed in some time, you may need a flush, too. Flushing and replacing the coolant helps protect against rust and mineral deposits, which are common problems on our salt-laden, icy, Twin Cities roadways. 


4. Check Your Battery

Cold weather is a battery’s worst enemy. Freezing temperatures can cause your vehicle’s battery to lose up to 60% of its power during start-up, which is why having a fully functional battery coming into winter is so important.


While you can certainly test your own battery, you’ll need a voltmeter to get the job done. Don’t own one? Take your vehicle to a trusted auto repair shop and request a battery test. If the battery is low on juice, your auto mechanic can replace it on the spot.


5. Replace Worn Tires

Few things are more dangerous than driving a vehicle with worn tires on icy roadways. To protect yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle, make sure you inspect your tires before winter hits. Here’s what to look for:


●        Worn tread. If the tread on your tires is approaching (or past) the wear bar, replace them as soon as you can. 

●        Cupping. Uneven areas of worn tread are referred to as cupping. This issue occurs when a worn or damaged suspension causes the vehicle to bounce slightly as the tires rotate. Cupping reduces your traction on dry roadways, which means icy roads are especially dangerous for drivers with cupped tires. If you can see uneven tread, replace your tires stat.

●        Sidewall damage. Deteriorated tires don’t perform well on icy, wet roads. If you can see cuts, nicks, cracks, or other signs of deterioration or damage to your tires’ sidewalls, it’s time to replace them.


If you don’t own an all-wheel-drive vehicle, you may also want to consider putting studded snow tires on your vehicle for additional traction on icy roadways. 


6. Get a Brake Inspection

Last but certainly not least, have a qualified auto mechanic inspect your brakes before winter weather hits. You need more time to come to a full stop on icy roads, and if your brakes aren’t in optimal condition, your safety will be at risk.


AA Auto Tech: Your Twin Cities Source for Comprehensive Auto Repair and Maintenance

Need to have your vehicle checked out before winter rolls around? Don’t hesitate to bring it to our ASE-certified mechanics at AA Auto Tech! We service all makes and models of vehicles and have proudly served the Twin Cities metro since 1979. To learn more about our services or schedule an appointment, give us a call at 651-437-2218 or contact us online.