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Mechanics: Prepare vehicles before extreme cold comes through

Extremely cold temperatures can cause several issues for vehicles, making it harder to open or start them.

Chris Fulk, a mechanic at A to Z Auto, said proper vehicle maintenance is key to being ready for winter.

“Insuring your oil change is caught up, insuring your tire rotations are completed, as well as tire pressure and tire condition,” Fulk said, is a part of maintenance.

Drivers can usually check what the vehicle’s tire pressure should be by opening the driver’s side door and reading the pressure label on the inside bottom of the door frame.

If the vehicle’s battery doesn’t have enough juice, it might not crank during the extreme cold, Fulk said. Drivers can take their vehicles to almost any auto shop, such as A to Z Auto, to get the battery checked.

Fulk also said all of the vehicle’s fluids needs to be checked. The windshield wiper fluid needs to be a winter blend so it doesn’t freeze. The freeze point of the antifreeze also needs to be correct so it doesn’t freeze solid.

“If it’s not properly maintained and the antifreeze happens to freeze, it can actually, up to and include, destroy the engine,” Fulk said.

Before even starting the car, though, the zero-degree weather could make it hard to get inside.

Fulk said drivers need to lubricate the doorjambs and locks to prevent any moisture from freezing the mechanisms.

“If the doors themselves are frozen and you force the door open, you take a chance of maybe breaking the side glass out, (or) maybe breaking the door handle or the door latch assembly,” Fulk said.

He said drivers should also make sure the gas tank is more than a half full of gas, and should have a blanket, jumper cables and some food and water, just in case they break down on the side of the road during the extreme cold.

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