Expected stretch of frigid temperatures won’t be easy on vehicles

An auto experts explains how to keep them running smoothly

FARGO, N.D. — With an unusually mild winter in our region, winterizing your vehicle may not be top of mind.

If that’s the case, now is the time to get it ready.

“The cold does not get along with vehicles very well,” Matt’s Automotive Service Center General Manager Vernon Newman says.

As we head into this stretch of below freezing temperatures, preventative measures are key.

“The colder it gets, the worse it’s going to be with some of those issues and it can cause some of the issues to get worse and more expensive,” Newman explains.

Although the bitter cold can impact a number of things in vehicles, Newman says it’s the heating and cooling system that takes the biggest hit.

Electronic components like the battery and alternator are also affected.

“Variant coolant leaks, making sure that the heat is coming out of their vents properly, making sure that their battery is starting the vehicle, and that the alternator is charging it properly,” Newman says. “That’s probably the easiest and biggest thing people can do, is make sure the vehicle is operating the way that it should.”

If things do go awry, having some survival tools on hand is always a good idea.

“At the very minimum, especially with everyone having a cellphone for the most part these days, having something to keep yourself warm in the event that you’re unable to restart the vehicle,” Newman adds.

He says for those who are putting off vehicle maintenance because of the pandemic, safety measures like pickup and delivery, contactless payments and extra sanitization are in place.

Newman also recommends winter tires, although he says they are more effective in snow than on ice.

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