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The Suburbanite
  • Freezing temps impact car batteries, fluids

  • One of the more common problems for vehicles when temperatures fall to the zero mark is failing batteries, according to a Massillon mechanic.
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    • Tips for keeping your car running in the cold
      • Park in the garage: A garage provides a buffer from the blustery winds and extremely cold temperatures.
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      Tips for keeping your car running in the cold
      Park in the garage: A garage provides a buffer from the blustery winds and extremely cold temperatures.

      Use engine block heaters: For those who don’t have a garage, an engine block heater can help warm up your vehicle during extreme winter chills.

      Check antifreeze level: Water that keeps engines from overheating can freeze, and antifreeze lowers the freezing point of the coolant.

      Top off your tank: Getting to a gas station and filling up the tank can help make sure fuel does not freeze.

      Consider a new battery: Anyone who doesn’t remember when their car battery was replaced would likely do well by getting a new one.

      Check air pressure in tires: It’s important to check tire pressure regularly during cold weather to ensure recommended pressure ranges. For each 10 degrees the temperature drops, tires can lose about 1 pound of pressure per square inch.

      Source: AAA Ohio Auto Club
  • Whether a car is brand new or a clunker, driving in extreme chilly weather can be quite the task.
    A more common problem for vehicles when temperatures fall to the zero mark is failing batteries, according to David Wheeler, a mechanic and owner of Advanced Tech Auto Repair in Massillon.
    “We’ve seen a lot of borderline batteries that have just failed,” Wheeler said. “It’s always best to test them before it gets this cool.”
    Car fluids can thicken or freeze if temperatures drop too low, said Wheeler, who advises folks to keep engine belts, hoses and oil up to par. Thicker fluids, such as oil and power-steering fluid, can make vehicles “whine” or make clicking sounds before they warm up, he added.
    “Thick oil makes a car crank harder and work more, too,” he said. “(Vehicle) noise can also come from expanding and contracting of drive shafts.”
    Wheeler said battery acid in cars can become dense, making the car more difficult to start. He recommended allowing vehicles to warm up between five and 10 minutes after they’ve sat idle for hours at a time.
    “Let the hood and fluids get warm,” Wheeler said. “Don’t just throw the car in gear and take off.”
    Sometimes cold weather brings out some silliness in people, according to Wheeler, who said a customer came in this week for assistance in opening a sunroof, which had clogged drains in its operating system.
    “You had to scratch your head on that one,” he said. “He had a valid reason for coming in, but it’s something you don’t expect in this weather.”
    BATTERY CALLS HIGH FOR AAA
    Kimberly Schwind, senior public relations manager for AAA Ohio Auto Club, said Tuesday most of the calls from members were related to faulty car batteries.
    “A lot of them are failing in the cold weather,” Schwind said.
    Many motorists appear to be locking keys inside vehicles while warming them up, Schwind said.
    “This is common in cars with automatic locking mechanisms,” said Schwind, who recommends keeping a set of spare keys inside homes or simply “staying put at home if you can.”
    Reach Steven at 330-775-1134
    or steven.grazier@indeonline.com
    On Twitter: @sgrazierINDE

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