When the temperatures drop into the single digits, you most likely want to curl up with a good book or binge-watch the latest show – whatever you can to just stay indoors. Chances are, at some point you’ll still need to go out. When you do, you’re going to want to make sure that car starts and keeps running.
Here are 7 tips to make sure your car starts right up no matter how cold it gets:
Battery: The most common car problem when the temperatures drop is the battery not starting. Perform a volt test on your battery to get a new one if it’s needed prior to the bad weather hitting. If the car doesn’t start on the first try, let the car sit for a couple of minutes before trying again. If it still doesn’t start, you’ll likely need to get the jumper cables out to get it going.
Wipers: Even though you may be bundled so only your eyeballs are showing, you still need to make sure you can see clearly. If you are noticing that your wiper blades just aren’t cleaning the way they used to, they’re not going to do any better in the snow. You may want to consider picking up a pair of winter wipers which aren’t very expensive and will give you much better visibility when you’re on the road.
Idling: We all like to have the car toasty when we get in, but is idling the engine a good idea? In general, no. It can cause damage to your engine over time and it’s bad for the environment. When it’s below zero though, many professionals recommend idling for a minute or two just to get the fluids moving. Not for 10 minutes or more though as we mentioned before, idling is bad for your engine and it wastes gas!
Tires: Did you know a temperature change of just 10 degrees can cause a 10 percent reduction of air in your tires? So, bundle up and regularly check your tire pressure during severely cold weather. If you don’t know, you should double-check your car’s optimal tire pressure in your owner’s manual or on the sticker inside the driver’s side door.
Gas: We’ve all heard it – “It’s going to be cold out, did you put gas in the car?” You should make sure that your gas tank is at least half-filled because it will help prevent the car’s fuel line from freezing.
Frozen locks and doors: Ever get out to the car and your door won’t unlock because it’s frozen? For frozen locks, you may want to have a de-icer ready. Don’t have any? In a pinch you could try a squirt of hand sanitizer on the key. The alcohol in it can help dissolve the ice. A way to prevent your entire door from getting frozen shut to the frame is to lubricate the door’s rubber gasket with silicone. Door already frozen shut? You could try pouring lukewarm water around the seal of the door to thaw the ice. Once the door is open, make sure to dry off the inside of the seal with a towel so it doesn’t refreeze. Never ever use hot water…the temperature difference could shatter your window glass!