With temperatures moving in that give you a chill just looking out the window, you’ll need to take a few minutes to prepare your car for extreme cold. These tips can help make sure your car starts, stays warm and is ready to get you where you need to go during the brutal cold.
If you don’t have a mechanic in the family to send you handy reminders, this is your reminder to take action today to prevent misery later this week. It started with a text from my father who reminded us to put a feel antifreeze or dry gas into our tanks to prepare for the cold, but there are some other things you need to keep in mind.
These tips are in addition to keeping a winter supply kit in your trunk, so if you haven’t checked that lately make sure you have a blanket, gloves, first aid kit, high energy snack and an ice scraper in the car make sure that is stocked up.
To find out what else you need to do to prepare your car for the Polar Vortex, we checked in with Colin Dilley, VP of Technology at Prestone to learn more about these important steps.
- Charge Your Battery: Dilley tells Gotta Be Mobile, “One of the most important things to do is keep your battery charged. Charge it overnight as much as you can. Extreme cold can dramatically reduce the power available to start the car.” I keep my car on a trickle or float charger, which is relatively inexpensive, but you may need to go with full charger depending on your situation. If you have an auto parts store or . harbor freight nearby, you can pick one up to have on hand. You should also carry jumper cables with you.
- Make the Spark Count: Sometimes your car needs a boost to start and that’s where you can give it a hand. Dilley recommends using, “Prestone starting fluid to allow a weaker spark to actually ignite the fuel.”
- Check Your Antifreeze: This step is very important. Dilley says, “Make sure your antifreeze is the right concentration and topped up. Nothing will work if the coolant is frozen.” Antifreeze is what keeps your engine from freezing up in the cold. You can check this with a Hydrometer on your own very easily. If it is not good, you can follow the instructions in your user manual to fix the issue.
- Fuel Care: Your gas is another major area that you need to pay attention to. Dilley recommends using a “complete fuel system cleaner to clean the fuel system. Keep the fuel tank full to stop water condensation causing fuel line freezing.” This is especially important if you are going to be leaving the car sit all day when you are at work or for longer periods while traveling. If you can find it in stock, you may want to add a gas antifreeze to your gas tank.
- Let The Car Warm Up: After you get your car started, you still need to be careful. Dilley offers important advice, “Once running, let the engine warm up. Don’t just take off! Oil needs to reach its correct operating temperature.”
It’s a good idea to take a little time today to make sure everything is topped up and ready to go, so that you don’t need to worry about getting stranded on the side of the road or finding that your car won’t start when you need to go to work or the store.
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