Arctic air advisory in Michigan: Tips for keeping cars in shape for travel

Drivers advised to beware of potential for dead batteries due to cold weather

Ice (Pixlr)

DETROIT – Temperatures are expected to hover in the teens and single digits throughout this week in Michigan, with wind chills dipping into the negatives.

AAA is issuing its own statewide Arctic air advisory and offering the following tips for drivers to help keep their vehicles ready for travel in the cold temps:

  • Battery – Have charging system tested to ensure it’s fully charged and in good condition.
  • Gas – Keep tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
  • Windshield washer fluid – Use one with winter solvent that won’t freeze.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Car doors – Prevent freezing. Place a plastic trash bag between the door or window glass and the frame.
  • Car wash – Postpone until temps rise above freezing.

AAA said it always expects calls about dead batteries to jump during such cold weather. Here’s what you should do to prepare for a dead battery:

  • 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

Related: The fastest way to defrost your windshield, according to science

Weather forecast: More snow flakes, more cold

From the Local 4Casters:

Snow arrives early Monday evening and, given the cold air mass we’re in, this will be another powdery snow -- great for skiers, but not great for building a snowman. Even though the moisture content arriving tonight is meager, the lower water content of the snow means it will fluff up more easily, so an inch or two is possible, particularly south of Highland Road/M-59/Hall Road.

North of there, amounts will drop off quickly. Near steady temperatures in the mid-teens (-10 degrees Celsius), which is still quite cold, but not as cold as how we’re starting our Monday morning.

Read the full week’s detailed forecast here.

About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.