Tips For You and Your Car in Cold Weather
Just like people, cars just don’t function normally in frigid weather like we are experiencing. With temperatures plummeting well below zero tonight, here are a few tips to make sure your vehicle remains operable during this Arctic blast of cold weather. One thing is watch your car's battery power. Most mechanics recommend changing it approximately every 3 years depending on how much you drive and how you drive. Checking or replacing your spark plugs is also a good idea as well.
Make sure the battery cables are not loose. It is easy to check. Make sure the engine is off to see if the cables can slip free from the terminal posts. If it is loose, tighten the nut to snugly fit the post.
While looking at the cables, check for corrosion. If there is a white powder around the nodes or the clamps then that could be a sign of corrosion. If you can’t get a new battery, then at least clean the terminals and clamps with baking soda, water and a toothbrush.
While under the hood, check the serpentine belt. It’s the big one that is immediately visible at the front of the engine. If it is cracked or worn, then it might be time to consider changing it so it doesn’t snap in frigid weather.
As far as fluids are concerned, make sure you get a “winter blend” type of windshield wiper fluid. Winter blends have a greater concentration of alcohol and less water, so less likely to freeze.
Some mechanics recommend adding a can of Heet or other fuel-line antifreeze to the gas tank to eliminate water from the fuel lines. If your fuel lines are already frozen, this won’t help.
Make sure you fill your antifreeze. If it hasn’t been flushed in a few years, then it could use it. Green-colored antifreeze is the most common. Whichever color you choose, don’t mix colors. Coolant and antifreeze are interchangeable terms. Coolant is typically sold premixed, that is it is half water, half antifreeze, as it needs to be. Antifreeze can be pure and needs to be mixed. Check the bottle’s label as it will tell you.
Make sure you also check your oil, tire pressure and your wipers as well. Buy an emergency kit with cables, first aid kit, flares, battery powered air compressor and other things that can prevent a minor inconvenience from becoming a major problem.