On Your Side: Preparing your car for the bitter cold

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The early blast of arctic air serves as a reminder to all of us that winter is on its way, and you need to make sure your car is prepped before it’s too late.

If your car breaks down, it’s crews like the one at Fountain City Wrecker that come to your rescue.

“Our role is to be here when people call, when they have a breakdown or an emergency,” said Chad Smith, manager at Fountain City Wrecker.

Sometimes those emergencies can be weather related.

“Anytime we see a surge in weather temperature, whether it be too hot or too cold, and especially in cold weather, you see more and more cars break down,” Smith said.

But to help make sure it doesn’t get to that point, Smith says there’s some precautions we can all take to better prepare our cars for below-freezing temperatures.

“Check your radiator fluid, make sure that it’s not just water. A lot of people put water in their cars during the summer time and don’t think about it in the winter time, but that will freeze up. You also want to have plenty of gas,” he said.

Stephanie Millani with AAA says colder weather can also affect your tires.

“You definitely want to check those after you’ve been home and the tires have kind of cooled down, but you want to make sure it is at the recommended pressure of the vechile manufacturer, because that cold temperature can cause that air to release out of your tires,” she said.

Milani also says it’s important to check your car’s battery and replace it if it’s a few years old.

“When we’re looking at freezing or below freezing temperatures, it takes about 60 percent more power to start your battery than it does in the warmer conditions,” she said.

AAA also says it’s good to have a winter weather kit in your car. The kit would include things like a first aid kit, blankets and gloves, jumper cables, a flash light and a cell phone charger.

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