Tips, tricks to keeping your vehicle running during the extreme cold

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 6:53 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Bitterly cold days like Tuesday have us doing what we can to keep warm, but is your vehicle ready to withstand the sub-zero conditions?

Local mechanics shared some tips and tricks to make sure your car stays up and running in the extreme cold.

“Biggest problem is going to be the battery,” Babcock Auto Care Success Manager Travis Andrist. “Batteries are always going with the cold weather like this and they work right up until they don’t. If you can get in, we’ll do that free test for you to see if it’s got some low cold cranking amps and get it taken care of before it becomes a problem.”

Looking under the hood
Looking under the hood(KTTC)

As we deal with yet another blast of cold Arctic air this winter, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is running properly and won’t leave you stranded in the cold.

“As temperatures drop, your tire pressure drops,” Jim’s Auto Care Service Adviser Keith Groth said. “You’re going to lose one pound of pressure for every 10 degrees in temperature change. So, if you go from 30 degrees down to 20 below, you’ve lost five pounds of pressure.”

Which might be enough to turn your tire pressure light on or even cause a flat tire if your tires are already under inflated.

“As temperatures go down, the rubber compound in tires get harder and will skid around more on the road and ice,” Groth said. “Winter tires, or snow tires as they used to call them, are invaluable in some of these conditions because the rubber stays softer and more pliable in cold temperatures. So, they give you better traction and obviously more safety that way.”

It’s also important to keep up with oil changes and make sure to check that the coolant, anti-freeze and other fluids in your vehicle are able to withstand the sub-zero temperatures.

Cars driving with snow in the foreground
Cars driving with snow in the foreground(KTTC)

“You want to make sure you’ve got a full tank of gas when you take off on any road trip, in case something does happen, you can keep the car warm,” Andrist said. “Make sure all the lights are working, visible so when you are on the side of the road you can have your flashers or hazards on. And make sure you have a kit inside the car with blankets, some of the necessities as far as water, some food, some snacks, things like that.”

Another recommendation: not letting your gas tank fall below half a tank and if you use diesel adding an additive.

If you have any questions or have concerns about your vehicle, always ask your mechanic what is the best option for your vehicle.

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