Tips for cold weather car care

Tips for cold weather car care

Freezing temperatures like the ones the Gulf Coast are currently experiencing prompt talk about whether you should warm your car.

Pensacola mechanic Gary Sapp said it depends on the car.

He said older models with a carburetor need a warm-up period, while with today's fuel-injected vehicles you can just get in and drive.

"Today's vehicles are very, very, very well engineered. The computer-controlled system in the engine will keep it running in almost any temperature," Sapp said.

That said, you may want to run the engine for a few minutes if the windshield is iced up.

"If you throw hot water on it, you're gonna buy one. If you allow your vehicle to warm up at its own pace, the cool, then warm, then hot air coming from the defroster hit it - the windshield will have the opportunity to warm up evenly as well and will be less likely to crack," Sapp explained.

Sapp said the cold will reduce your tire pressure, so you may want to check that and add a little air.

The most common cold weather problem he sees is the car won't start. He said that's usually a sign that you need a new battery.

"Especially weather like we're having today and this week, problems with the batteries, a lot of people think it starts with the cold, but it really started in the heat of summer and manifests itself now," Sapp said.

Sapp also warned people who are thinking about using a car cover.

"A car cover could be a very good thing as long as it doesn't freeze to your paint or freeze to your glass. A long time ago when I was a young'un, I was given a windshield cover and I put it over my windshield. It was supposed to peel right off and be good to go," Sapp explained. "It froze to the glass and it came off in pieces. So it was more work than it was worth, but there are times it could work, if you park under a carport, that can help as well. If it keeps the moisture off the vehicle, you're less likely to have a frozen over windshield, frozen over doors."

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