Tips For Keeping Your Car Running in Severely Cold Weather
Temperatures in East Tennessee will plunge to levels not seen in years. Such severely cold weather can freeze gas lines, drain batteries and cause other damage to our vehicles. Because we’re not used to such conditions in this part of the country, many people may not know how to handle the freezing temperatures.
James Cox, Service Advisor for Mercedes-Benz of Knoxville, appeared on Local8News today to share some of the following suggestions for keeping your car running in the cold:
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid frozen gas lines.
- Check your battery. Severe cold can drain older car batteries. If the battery is dead you’ll need a jump to get back on the road.
- Make sure you have the proper amount of antifreeze. Too much water or too little antifreeze can lead to a crack in your engine block.
- Avoid using the parking brake if you can. It can freeze in the on position, leaving you stranded.
- If your doors or locks frozen shut, use a de-icer or some form of heat to loosen frozen doors. Don’t combine the two, as de-icer is flammable. DO NOT use hot water as it can quickly refreeze in such harsh cold temperatures, making the problem worse. If you have a manual lock try running your key through a lighter’s flame a few times to warm up the lock.
- If your windshield is covered with ice, let the car run to melt it, or use a scaper. DO NOT pour hot water on your windshield. You run the risk of cracking the glass and the water will refreeze quickly, which will make the problem worse.
- Warm up your vehicle, aiming for at least five minutes to get the oil moving through the engine. Be sure to open the garage and clear the tailpipe of snow or mud before heating up a vehicle to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Keep a winter survival kit in your car in case of emergencies. Always keep a fully charged cell phone or even spare car charger with you, as well as abrasive materials such as sand or kitty litter or traction mats for when you’re stuck in the snow.