Experts Offer Tips To Keep Your Car Running In Frigid Temperatures

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – With temperatures expected to get as low as minus-14 degrees in some areas tonight, many people are having trouble starting their cars.

“Today will be one of those days,” says Tim Dietz, owner of Troubleshooters Auto Repair on Babcock Boulevard in the North Hills.

Dietz joined the “KDKA Morning News” with Larry Richert and John Shumway to share a list of tips for how you can prevent an automotive headache.

“If you have a battery that is over four years old, you’re going to have trouble today,” Dietz said.

Dietz said some people use what is called a “battery tender.” He said it is a device that, “maintains the battery at a full state of charge.”

One way to keep your battery warm is a trouble or shop light.

“It has a cage built over the bulb to protect it from melting things. Put it under the hood, throw a blanket on it. Just that 40 watt lightbulb will make a big difference in the morning when you go to start it,” Dietz said.

Another thing that will drain the battery is short trips. Dietz says that people who aren’t driving 20 to 30 miles a day may experience “parasitic draw.”

The short trips don’t give the alternator enough time to recharge the battery to full power.

He adds that cars that aren’t driven a lot may only have a partial battery charge, making it even harder on the battery on a cold day.

Some people are concerned about fuel line freeze up, but Dietz says that isn’t much of a concern anymore.

“The fuel systems are all closed because due to the emissions programs and requirements,” he said.

People who use “dry gas” or other products don’t need to because the gas you get at the pump already has many of the same ingredients that gas treatments have.

Some other things Dietz said you can do to make your ride smoother in cold weather are to make sure, “you have the proper air in your tires. In cold weather, the tires will lose pressure.”

“If you already have a low tire and the temperature drops from 20 to 5 below, now you almost have a flat tire.”

Also, keep an ample supply of windshield fluid that won’t freeze and make sure your anti-freeze and coolant is full.

Listen to the “KDKA Morning News” with Larry Richert and John Shumway weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.

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