Skip to Main

AAA Tips for Keeping Your Car Road-Ready Amid Northern Michigan’s Frigid Temperatures


Northern Michigan continues to grapple with frigid temperatures and is issuing a statewide Arctic Air Advisory.

Extremely cold temperatures are difficult for many different reasons but can also wreak havoc on vehicle functionality.

AAA offers the following tips to help motorists keep their vehicles road-ready:

  1. Battery – Have charging system tested to ensure it’s fully charged and in good condition.
  2. Gas – Keep tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
  3. Windshield washer fluid – Use one with winter solvent that won’t freeze.
  4. Engine Coolant – Use one that provides anti-freeze protection down to the lowest temperatures you are likely to encounter; -30oF/-34oC is a good guideline.
  5. Vehicle Storage – Park in a garage. If you don’t have access to a garage, put a tarp over the hood or park in a wind-protected area.
  6. Car doors – Prevent freezing. Place a plastic trash bag between the door or window glass and the frame.
  7. Car Wash – Postpone until temps rise above freezing.

During single-digit cold snaps, calls for dead batteries and other service-related needs across the Michigan are expected to jump.  AAA offers these additional reminders:

  • Always travel with a cell phone and car charger.
  • AAA recommends that if motorists become stranded, it is best to stay with the vehicle. If the engine can be started, run it only long enough to keep warm. Make sure the exhaust pipe is snow-free.
  • Motorists requiring road service can request it:
    • Online at
    • Via the AAA mobile app
    • Call 800.AAA-MICH

Additional winter weather driving tips are available in AAA’s How to Go on Ice and Snow booklet, which can be downloaded by clicking .