Cool tips for cold cars

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January 7, 2015 - 12:00 AM

A little common sense goes a long way — same goes for cars — as the mercury dips.
Automotive wiz John Kress, owner of Quality Auto in Gas, offered up several tips for motorists now that Iola and Allen County are bearing the brunt of the coldest weather snap of the season.
“To be honest, a lot of these should have already been done before now,” Kress said, “but you can still check on things to make the roads safer for you and other drivers.”
Batteries, tires, windshield wipers and coolant levels should be checked often, especially when it’s coldest, Kress said.
“Check your battery and the connections,” he said. Engines are more difficult to get started in extremely cold temperatures.
The most obvious and ideal remedy, he noted, is to park a vehicle in a garage overnight. For those without interior parking options, he suggested finding a spot next to a vehicle, or at the least, park with a vehicle pointed to the south, and away from the brisk north wind.
“It makes a difference,” Kress said.
Engine coolant also is vitally important, to ensure water lines do not freeze over, potentially causing catastrophic damage to an engine.
“And if your coolant level is low,  you’ll notice it because your car heaters won’t get as warm,” Kress added.
Wiper blades are more prone to damage in cold weather because they easily become brittle and worn.
“I’ve had cars come in with the wiper blades falling apart, and scratched windshields,” he said. “It’s a lot safer if you can see while you’re driving, for you and everybody else.”
Kress also recommends periodically pouring in a container of fuel additive, which removes impurities, and potentially water.
“Actually, that’s not a bad idea to do that regularly during the year,” he said.

TODAY’S ARCTIC blast failed to bring snow or other moisture in these parts, key ingredients to doors frozen shut.
Kress offered up a preventive maintenance tip for those as well — silicone.
Any type of silicone-based spray — homeowners could use PAM non-stick cooking spray or WD-40 in a pinch — prevent water or ice from sticking to the door’s rubber seal.
“If you’re worried about the spray getting on the paint, just spray some on a rag and wipe it on,” Kress said. “A thin film is all it takes.”

AIR, LIKE all other forms of matter, contracts in colder temperatures. Thus, a fully inflated tire at 70 degrees could potentially have much less air pressure in wintry conditions, Kress noted.
Tires with low air pressure handle rougher, and get worse gas mileage.
Belts also should be checked — preferably before it got cold — because they, too, can become brittle and crack easily as they age.
“Make sure your lights are all working properly, too,” he added.

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