How to Protect Your Car in the Winter - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

How to Protect Your Car in the Winter

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By Alex Schuman

aschuman@myabc5.com

@alexschuman

In the last few weeks we've gone from green grass to freezing temps and snow covered ground.  It's made it tough for drivers, but drivers may be making it harder on themselves.

Enter Ron and Kevin.  Two mechanics with three basic tips for every car owner in the winter.

First, regularly check your fluids and oil.

"When it gets cold outside, the fluids inside the car, they thicken up and it moves a lot slower and they can't lubricate the internal components," said Ron Haugen, Westside Auto Pro.

Through time this can ruin your engine.  Make sure you change your oil, and constantly check coolant and wiper fluid.

A good way to make winter less stressful on your car is to let it warm up before driving.  It gives the liquids and oil time to thin.

You want to wait until the heated air is warm enough to defrost the windshield before actually driving. 

"It's easier on the vehicle," said Kevin Waters, Tuffy Auto Service Center.  "It has to come up to operating temperature before it'll operate properly.  You'll actually be doing damage to the vehicle."

The number two tip - test your battery.  Pretty much any mechanic will do a quick test for free.

"The battery's the life blood, it's the electrical center that starts the car," said Haugen. "If you've got a battery that's a little bit weak or just over the edge when it gets cold - it's not gonna start."

Lastly, let's talk tires.  Believe or not, some people do not make sure there's enough air in them.  During the winter this is crucial.  You risk damaging the car's suspension and you own life. 

"If you got a low tire it's gonna pull towards that tire," said Waters. "If you add slick conditions to that - now you're basically kinda on the edge of out of control."

Ron and Kevin also suggested if your tires are full of air and you still don't have good control of your car, consider buying snow tires for better traction.

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