This year’s winter season is just around the corner and thousands of vehicles in Oklahoma are in need of preventive maintenance before the weather turns colder.


“It’s been several years since Oklahoma had a state-mandated safety inspection law and I’m afraid regular vehicle maintenance is being neglected by more and more motorists,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “During AAA’s annual Car Care Check-ups, the most frequent problems we find are under-inflated tires, dirty oil and low fluid levels under the hood.”


In an effort to help motorists get ready, get set and go during this year’s winter driving season, AAA Oklahoma offers the following tips:


This year’s winter season is just around the corner and thousands of vehicles in Oklahoma are in need of preventive maintenance before the weather turns colder.

“It’s been several years since Oklahoma had a state-mandated safety inspection law and I’m afraid regular vehicle maintenance is being neglected by more and more motorists,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “During AAA’s annual Car Care Check-ups, the most frequent problems we find are under-inflated tires, dirty oil and low fluid levels under the hood.”

In an effort to help motorists get ready, get set and go during this year’s winter driving season, AAA Oklahoma offers the following tips:

Get Ready:Before you drive long distances, check the weather conditions along your route. As a safety precaution, remember to bring a cellular phone and a winter driving kit that includes the following items: a flashlight with fresh batteries, a small snow shovel and brush, traction mats, an ice scraper, booster cables, a warm blanket, flares or triangle warning devices, heavy gloves, snacks, window washing solvent, paper towels and a first aid kit.

Get Set:Inspect your vehicle thoroughly before leaving your driveway. Ensure that your tires are properly inflated, fluid levels (including anti-freeze) are full, front and rear lights are operating, and belts and hoses are in good condition.

Keep in mind that one of the most common causes of cold-weather breakdowns is a weak or dead battery. Good indicators that your battery is weak and may need replacement include a starter motor that cranks the engine slowly when the ignition key is turned, or headlights that dim noticeably when the engine speed drops to an idle. If in doubt, have a qualified auto technician check it.

Go:Now that your vehicle has the green light, here are some winter driving tips to get you to your destination safely.

When driving during slippery and icy conditions, slow down and keep a safe distance from other vehicles, minimize brake use and bear in mind that traction is greatest just before the wheels spin. Gentle pressure on the accelerator pedal when starting is the best method for retaining traction and avoiding skids. The most effective way to stop on ice and snow is to apply your brakes gently well in advance of the point where you intend to stop. If your vehicle has an antilock braking system (ABS), you may feel a vibration or pulsation in the brake pedal when coming to a stop. This means the system is operating as designed to prevent wheel lock up. Continue to apply firm pressure to the brake pedal until your vehicle comes to a complete stop. Do not pump your brakes if your car has ABS. Keep your seatbelts fastened and make certain that all passengers are securely restrained. When driving in falling snow or fog, lower your speed, use your low-beam headlights or fog lights and keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. To help avoid gas line freeze up, keep your gas tank at least half full to minimize condensation. Use of a commercial gas “dryer” can also be beneficial, but is not necessary if you’re using fuel that has been blended with ethanol, known as E10.

As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Oklahoma provides its 343,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automobile-related services. Since its founding in 1920, AAA Oklahoma, a not-for-profit organization, has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA Web sites are packed with useful information: www.AAAFuelGaugeReport.com, www.AAA.com and www.AAAmaps.com.