17:00 PM

AAA: Helping Your Vehicle Survive the Cold

With sub-zero temperatures forecasted for this weekend, Minnesotans are heading into one of the coldest points this winter season.

"Every year we see an uptick in battery-related calls when the weather turns cold." Said Meredith Mitts, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group. "Car batteries on their last legs get zapped by the temperatures, leaving motorists unable to start their vehicle. While some of these calls come from motorists trying to leave the comfort of their home, others call stranded at a store or on the side of the road."

If planning to stay at home, remember to start, and drive, your vehicle for a few minutes each day. Turning your car on is great, but physically driving it is what helps re-charge the battery, allowing it to start when you need it to. If the vehicle doesn't start, it might be time for a new battery.

If you are planning on heading out this weekend for any reason, AAA has a few Do's and Don'ts for driving in a cold snap.


  • Make sure you have at least half a tank of gas at all times, just in case you get stranded.
  • Equip your vehicle with an emergency kit: snow shovel, ice scraper, jumper cables, flares, a flashlight and some warm clothing and blankets.
  • Check all fluid levels and tire pressure, making sure they are in ready-to go condition.
  • Have a fully-charged cell phone with you to call for help.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.
  • Before starting out, remove ice and snow from the entire car, mirrors and lights so you have clear driving visibility.
  • Watch for icy surfaces on bridges and intersections, even if the rest of the road seems to be in good condition.


  • Use cruise control in precipitation and freezing temperatures.
  • Turn the car on and immediately go – give the engine some time to warm up.
  • Speed or Tailgate – leave room for error and make sure you have space to stop
  • Drive with ice or snow anywhere on the vehicle (Reduces visibility and could fly off of vehicle creating road debris or causing a crash)
  • Run on fumes – make sure your gas tank is at least half-full.

"No one ever wants to be in the position where they have to call for help on a roadside, but when it's brutally cold, a bad situation can be made even worse." Mitts continues. "If you are heading out this weekend, make sure you and your vehicle are prepped and ready for the worst-case scenario – being stuck in the cold."

Additional winter weather driving tips are available through THIS LINK to AAA's How to Go on Ice and Snow booklet.

In addition to contacting AAA for roadside assistance via the toll free number, members can also use www.AAA.com or the AAA mobile app.