Tips to keep your vehicle running in the cold

MISSION, Kan. — The frigid temperatures are taking a toll on cars across the metro. FOX4 spoke to an expert about how to keep your car purring in the coldest parts of winter. 

“In the winter time, it’s pretty much batteries, batteries, batteries. That’s always the way it seems to be,” said Matt Pugh, owner of Overland Park Automotive.

Cold weather zapping energy from car batteries is almost expected during the coldest parts of winter in the Midwest. Keeping an eye on the age of your battery and cleaning the connectors will help battle Mother Nature.

To protect your engine, Pugh said, “Coolant is going to be the biggest thing because if it freezes, it’s going to crack the block on an engine.”

Antifreeze does what it says, stopping the water in your car from freezing. Knowing where the antifreeze reservoir is and how to check it is essential to protecting your car from wintertime disaster.

“You want to make sure it’s not below these lines on the tank because then your antifreeze is getting low,” Pugh said as he showed FOX4 the reservoir in a car at his shop. “It’s better to have too much than too little.”

Low temperatures often means low tire pressure, and that means danger on the roads. Air contracts in the cold, taking up less space in the tire, 1 PSI for every 10 degrees.

“So if we get it from 80 degrees to 10 degrees, and if your car holds 30 or 35 PSI, you’re down 25% in your tires,” Pugh explained.

The health of your tire treads is also important to stay safe on the roads. If you don’t have a tread depth gauge, a coin will work just fine.

Pugh showed FOX4 how to measure the tread with a quarter by inserting it into the grooves.

“We’re about at the bottom of the head on the quarter, and this is a really good set a tires, so she’s got a good 30,000 miles left on these tires if not more,” he said.

Any problems under the hood are amplified in extreme temperatures, so keeping up with oil changes and routine maintenance puts you ahead of the weather. Keeping your gas tank more than halfway full will also help your car fight off Mother Nature and help you avoid getting stuck on the side of the road.

When you take your car in for its routine maintenance, be sure to get a check list from your mechanic to track the health of your car and make sure everything has been taken care of.