Baby, it’s cold outside. Keep your car running smooth!

It is getting to be brisk out there. Here are a few tips on how to keep your car running smoothly in the cold:

DENVER – Like most things, cars do not always do well when temperatures drop below zero. However, experts say there are steps you can take to prevent a stall in the severe cold.

9NEWS talked with Astro Automotive and the Go Jeep West Service Center for some tips on how to keep cars and trucks running in the cold weather.

Both said that if you keep up with regular maintenance on your car, like having regularly scheduled oil changes and inspections, you should be OK when temperatures get in the single digits and go below zero.

Aside from that, local car care experts agree there are a few things in particular all drivers can all keep a look out for when the weather gets this cold.

First, and it may seem obvious, let your car warm up before you start driving. Experts say usually five minutes is enough.

Remember it is illegal to be a “puffer” in Colorado, which is when you leave your car running and unattended. So, experts say just sit tight and wait for the fluids to warm up so your car is operating at a good temperature. This is especially important if you drive an automatic.

Second, you may notice a certain light illuminated on your dashboard during the cold weather. It is most likely alerting you that your tire pressure is low. For every 10 degrees the temperature goes down, your car tires can lose up to 1 pound of pressure. This is important not to ignore because it can create more wear on your tires and reduce gas mileage.

You can take your car in for a quick fill, or most cars have the desired tire pressure printed on the driver’s side door or in your owner’s manual, so you can do it yourself. If the light stays on, you may have to go in to have a professional manually reset the display.

Next, resist the urge to wash your car when it gets really cold. You can end up getting water in places you don’t want it. That water can freeze and no one wants a frozen door handle this time of year.

The most important tip experts say you can do to protect your vehicle is to make sure your coolant or antifreeze is in good condition. If it hasn’t been replaced in a while, it’s a good idea to get this checked as soon possible. Mechanics will check this using a strip to make sure it will protect your car up to minus 35 degrees.

You can also check it yourself with an inexpensive tester from your local auto parts store. It’s important to never try to remove reservoir cap while the engine is hot. The coolant can be very hot and burn you badly.

AAA Colorado also has more tips on staying safe in the cold weather:

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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