Winter weather myths for your car

Over the past few days, we have experienced the coldest temperatures so far this winter.  That cold not only takes a toll on us, but also on our vehicles.  Social media is full of ways to take care of your car in the winter, but not all of those are good ideas.  Here are some things you DON’T want to do:

  • pour warm/hot water on a frozen windshield (the extreme temperature difference will crack the glass)
  • put anti-freeze or cooking oil on your windshield
  • use windshield wipers to remove ice (this damages the wiper blades so they won’t work as well when you need them)
  • ignore regular maintenance/inspections (making sure your car is prepared for the winter is the best way to avoid disaster)

Here are some good tips to keep in mind:

  • when temperatures drop really low, try to keep your gas tank at least 1/2 full (that will reduce the chance of the gas freezing in the lines)
  • extreme weather (heat or cold) is more taxing on your charging system, so it’s a good idea to have a car battery that is less than 4 years old
  • to quickly melt ice on your windshield, mix 1 part water with 2 parts rubbing alcohol and spray it on your windshield (rubbing alcohol has a much lower freezing point than water, so it basically melts the ice instantly)
  • keep an eye on your tires (a lot of you probably saw your low tire pressure light come on at least once in the last week)
    • temperature and pressure are directly related, so as temperatures drop, the pressure in your tires will drop too
    • check the PSI on your specific tires so you know how far to fill them
    • over-inflated tires will have bad traction and can lead to a blow out, but under-inflated tires can also burst
    • make sure your tires are properly filled right before a cold snap
    • watch the tread and tire depth (the better those are, the better traction and stopping ability you’ll have)

Don’t forget to pack an emergency kit in your car on the off chance you do get stranded.  You’ll want to include:

  • blankets
  • ice scraper/de-icer
  • jumper cables
  • a shovel
  • cat litter (if you get stuck, sprinkle some on the ice/snow to give you a little extra traction)
  • water and snacks

If you have other myths you would like us to test, send those to Meteorologist Hannah Strong.  She’s on Facebook (click here), or Twitter (click here).

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