Protecting the Wear and Tear on Your Car From Low Temperatures

recommendations from experts include using a block heater, putting more air in tires, keeping up on maintenance

FARGO, N.D. — It’s not just ourselves, kids and pets we need to take care of in the cold.

Just because your vehicle starts up when now doesn’t mean it will as temperatures continue to drop this week.

It’s the very reason Fix It Forward owner Matt Carlson says more drivers should be checking their car batteries this week when it gets as low as –30.

“The big problems with the real cold weather is batteries. That’s the number one issue. Cars don’t start. Batteries that are questionable, batteries that are weak just can’t handle the cold weather,” Carlson said.

Carlson says synthetic oil can help but it’s best to have a mechanic take a look at your car.

But that’s not the only way to protect the wear and tear on a vehicle.

Experts say plugging in your block heater is a great way to take care of your car but if you don’t have one, keeping it out of the elements can make all the difference.

“If you use a block heater, then your car is warm when it starts and it takes all that initial wear and tear off of the motor so I recommend putting in the block heater,” Carlson said.

“If they don’t have a block heater, we recommend they keep their vehicle in a garage at night if possible. While it’s still going to be cold, every degree counts makes a difference,” said AAA spokesman Gene LaDoucer.

Carlson says taking care of your car can prevent the uptick in business that auto shops like his are expecting soon.

“I’m guessing the next couple days are going to be busy. I mean today we get in here and the phone just starts ringing and we got time to get the tow truck in and start hauling vehicles. I expect it’ll be that way in the next couple days because vehicles that start out okay at zero don’t necessarily start at 30 below,” Carlson said.

If you’re a driver who ends up getting stuck, LaDoucer says it’s best to keep an emergency kit in your car with supplies like warm clothing, a blanket, a heating source of some sort, non–perishable food items and a shovel.

“Those things are always critical, an extra spare battery or battery charger for your vehicle. We also recommend you also keep at least a half a tank of gas. That helps prevent fuel line freeze up. But it also gives you a cushion of safety there should you get stranded and you need to keep the vehicle running periodically to keep you warm,” LaDoucer said.

Carlson and LaDoucer also say drivers should remember to fill up their tires because as the temperature drops, so does air pressure, which provides both traction and durability.

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