Tips: Cold weather and your car

Tips: Cold weather and your car

PINE BELT (WDAM) - Driving safely in icy conditions isn't just about how you drive.  Not taking care of your car in this weather will cost you time and money.

Cold temperatures can affect your engine, battery and tire pressure.

According to Auto Technician Neil Graves, its critical for your car to check your cooling system. Graves said its never too late in the winter to check your coolant and anti-freeze levels and could be a quick fix.

Graves said the most number of calls his shop gets in these freezing temperatures is of driver's cars not starting due to a dead battery.

"You'll have batteries damaged in the summer due to extreme heat, but it won't show up until a major temperature fluctuation," Graves said. "The minute it gets cold outside, that battery will go bad."

Here are some more tips for your car in cold weather:

- Warming: Give your car a few minutes to warm up if it has been sitting outside for an extended period of time.  If you get into your car and drive instantly, all the parts of your car may not be ready to function properly.  Be sure to only let it run for a few minutes, because too much time could waste your gas and possibly hurt your engine.

- Frozen Windshields:  If your windshield or car handles are frozen, do not spray them with hot water.  Be sure to use cold water to slush any frozen ice on your vehicle.  Hot water can ruin your car and cause your windshield to crack in an instant.

- Tire Pressure:  Be sure to check your tires and pay attention to any warning signs.  Cold weather compresses the air in your tire, which means you need to add more.  Driving with low tire pressure makes your tires wear out faster and hurts mileage, too.

If you do need to drive in the icy conditions, you don't need to worry about any salt or sand on bridges from MDOT.  Graves said in the Pine Belt climate, that salt should not have any impact on your vehicle.  If you are worried about the salt being on your tires, Graves said to spray some water along the rims when the weather warms up.