Cold Temps Could Harm Your Car

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Updated: 1/15/2013 6:45 pm

The cold weather is affecting more than just people; our cars are suffering as well.  No one wants to be stranded because of a broken belt or a dead battery, especially with temperatures hovering in the single digits.

 “It’s just when it gets below zero, it’s very tough on cars,” said Brent Facer of Mel’s Automotive. “Any part of the rubber stuff, everything just freezes.  It’s just very hard on everything. We’ve been extremely busy the last two and a half weeks with this cold weather.”

 According to AAA, there are some easy things you can do to keep your car running throughout the winter months. First, it’s a good idea to let your car warm up a little bit before hitting the road because the consequences could be costly.

“You could ruin the engine,” said Facer. “The engine could be ruined.”

Make sure your windshield is clear. Not only is it illegal to drive with an ice covered windshield, it’s dangerous.

The extreme cold can make washer fluid freeze before your wipers even get a chance to clear your windshield. You can solve this by putting an additive in your wiper fluid or by using a fluid that is rated for these temperatures.

Of course none of this matters if your car doesn’t start. Your car won’t start if the battery goes out and so battery maintenance is critically important. At zero degrees, your car’s battery loses 60 percent of its strength. And so it’s a good idea to turn everything in your car off before attempting to start your car on a bitterly cold day. Your radio, wipers, and heat can all compromise your battery.

“Have them checked regularly,” said Facer. “Every time the oil gets checked, they should check the battery and all your fluid levels and make sure they are clean and good so that they’ll work correctly.”

And finally, make sure your tires are inflated properly. If you’ve ever left a basketball out in the yard, you know how the cold temperatures can affect air pressure. The same can also be true with tires. You can find the recommend air pressure inside the driver’s side door.

You should also keep the fuel level up in the winter just in case a road is closed or you get stranded. It’s also a good idea to keep an emergency kit with jumper cables and blankets in your car.

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