CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – It finally feels like winter in western Massachusetts with temperatures below freezing all day and dipping into the teens over night.

AAA wants to remind you to to prepare your car to handle the temperatures. There are a few things you can easily do yourself to improve safety and efficiency.

“The average vehicle on the road today is more than 12 years old and even dependable cars might not be ready for the worst that winter has in store for us,” said Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast Director of Public and Legislative Affairs. “Preparing now before your vehicle breaks down can save you time, money and aggravation when the mercury settles into the teens and single digits.” 

Make sure your engine coolant, wiper fluid and tire pressure are all topped off. Wiper blades that leave streaks or miss spots should be replaced. If you can get your car into the shop have them check your battery and charging system which lose efficiency in cold weather.

Temperatures

These frigid temperature overnight make it tempting to idle your car in the morning before heading to work. It’s a common belief that your car’s engine needs to warm up before you get underway. That’s not the case – and idling your car for long periods of time wastes fuel and is against state law.

Best practice is to start your car, give it a few seconds while you buckle up and drive reasonably until the engine reaches operating temperature.

Remember, Massachusetts also has an anti-idling law to discourage leaving your car running to get the interior warm.

Massachusetts Anti-Idling Law

The Massachusetts anti-idling law is to improve the air quality in the state by reducing unnecessary air pollution from idling cars.

The law states that a car cannot be idling more than 5 minutes unless it is being serviced or it is being used to deliver or accept goods where engine assisted power is necessary. If someone is caught, they can be given a $100 fine for the first offense and up to $500 for subsequent offenses.

However, not all engine idling is prohibited. Necessary idling would be for safety issues during cold weather, which includes running your engine to use your windshield defroster to clear off your car for safer driving.