AAA: Keep your car running in the deep freeze

Car tires on winter road covered with snow. Snowy landscape with a vehicle

With the prediction of a stretch of single-digit temperatures, AAA Oklahoma warns that motorists who aren’t prepared for these extreme conditions may find themselves stuck, literally, out in the cold.

AAA Oklahoma’s Car Care manager Kevin Lynch offers the following tips that go beyond the typical precautions to keep your car running and life moving: 

Allow extra time to make sure your vehicle starts, and look for deflated tires - especially if you haven’t driven in a while. AAA’s 430,000 Oklahoma members can request help at work, home or on the road from a technician, if needed.

If your car is a 2007 or newer model, you DO NOT need to warm it up before driving. It takes only about 30 seconds for everything to turn and for the engine to be lubricated properly. In fact, actually driving your car is the best thing to do. Just take enough time to be sure your windshield is clear and buckle your seat belt. Lynch says that cars warm up faster when driving them than when stopped.

Never leave a vehicle running in a closed garage without adequate ventilation, and don’t leave it running with keys or a key fob inside to avoid opportunistic thefts.

Keep your gas tank full.

By appointment, AAA Oklahoma’s Car Care Centers in Northwest OKC, Edmond, Norman and south of Quail Springs Mall are providing vehicle checks at no cost to help motorists avoid the most common problems. Membership is not required. Skilled technicians will inspect these essentials and more in a 12-point check-up:


Most car batteries last three to five years, so if your battery is more than three years old, get it checked. They fail without warning and are 35% weaker even at 32 degrees. At zero degrees, a car’s battery loses 60% of its strength, yet the engine needs about twice as much power to start.


AAA also recommends checking tire pressure since tires need more air when it is cold. Proper cold weather tire pressure can be found in the vehicle manual or on a sticker inside the driver’s door, not on the tire itself.

Always drive prepared, should a breakdown occur, with a charged-up cell phone, your AAA card and a winter emergency kit.  

AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 61 million members nationwide and nearly 423,000 members in Oklahoma.  For more information, visit