Cold weather in the Ozarks can cause car troubles; experts offer tips to protect battery and tires

OZARK, Mo. (KY3) – Many people may have been snowed in at home for a few days, leaving their cars buried in snow.

Art Simmoneau, service manager for US Automotive’s Ozark location, says you don’t want to let your car sit in the cold for days without starting it. He says you should let it run for about 15 minutes, which will also help with defrosting the car.

When cold weather is on the way, Simmoneau encourages drivers to check their battery before it arrives.

”If you have a battery that wouldn’t last a couple of days in cold weather, there’s a problem,” Simmoneau says. “There’s a reason.”

It’s not just the battery that’s important. Simmoneau says it’s also crucial to check the air pressure in your tires.

If the tire pressure is too low…

“It’ll impact your steering, your braking obviously,” Simmoneau says. “You could lose control of it if you got too low of pressure in there. It’ll want to swerve. The tire pressure will be so low that the tire sets down. You’ll notice it squatting. You might notice it pull to one side or the other.”

Driver Brooke Brown says she put air in her tires, but she thinks there must have been a leak.

“I was riding in the winter snow and I already had to air up my tire a couple of times, but when I slicked on some black ice, my tire went flat,” Brown says. “I hit the curb and I tried to make it from Battlefield and Scenic. I made it all the way and my rim was almost falling off my tire.”

Simmoneau is reminding people not to use hot water to get ice off their windshields because it can cause the glass to crack. If your door is frozen shut, don’t force it open.

“If your lock is to the point where you can’t put a key in it to turn it, you can buy lock de-icer to spray the lock, which will help a lot of times,” Simmoneau says. “Never force the door handle. You can break them.”

Simmoneau says the same goes for your windows.

“You can knock it out of alignment,” Simmoneau says. “It can actually strip the regulator inside, strip the motor or the plastic that rides on the motor. It’s always a bad idea. If it doesn’t move, don’t try to force it.”

Brown says driving in this winter weather can be really scary.

“Semi-trailers, cars, trucks, it doesn’t matter what you’re on,” Brown says. “If you hit black ice, you’re kind of screwed.”

Simmoneau also suggests keeping a set of portable jumper cables in your car in case of an emergency.

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