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As we are now deep in the freeze of things there are a few tips that you should know to help your car start and run safely when the temperature dips below freezing.

Did you know that a car battery can lose up to 30% of its charge when the temperature drops below 32 degrees and almost 60% when it hits Zero?  (Source AAA). This is the time when your car will give you the most trouble starting just when your battery is now low on power.  Make sure you battery is up to the job.  Check the terminals and see if there is a white crusty residue on them.  If there is your contacts are going to be affected and you may not get the most of your battery. This should be cleaned.  Go and buy a battery terminal cleaner (they are inexpensive) and remove the negative connection first followed by the positive. Clean the terminal and the inside of the connections and place them back on the battery, positive first.  Battery’s only last 4 to 5 years. If you battery is old you should get a load test at your local repair shop. You do not want to get caught in the cold with a dead battery.

How many of you are aware how the battery gets recharged in your car? Hands, anyone? anyone?  Well the cars alternator will recharge the battery while the car is moving. Now imagine you’re are driving home and its dark out so your head lights are on.  It’s also cold out and the window is a little foggy. You turn on the defogger and the heat, maybe the rear defroster too. Wait, there’s more.  Now it starts to rain so the wipers are on and of course your radio is blasting. Your GPS is showing you where to go and your cell phone is charging. Wow that’s a lot of power being used. Now, all of a sudden you come to a traffic jam and your car is barely moving.   Do you know what can happen?  Without moving the alternator cannot recharge your battery and you’re basically using every possible device in your car. Con Ed and LIPA would be sending a truck to fix it as we speak if this was your house. It is possible you battery may just give out. Don’t take a chance if you’re in this situation.  Turn off your radio; unplug your cell and GPS.  Make your wipers intermittent and maybe lower the fan on your heater. You just may save enough battery life until you start moving again. (Some facts supplied by AAA)

Did you know your tires can deflate if the temperature drops? You want your tries properly inflated, so always check to see if they look low or check the pressure. A low tire will not give you proper traction and if the weather is bad such as snow or rain you want the most traction you can get. Make sure your wipers are in good shape and your antifreeze is working. You may want to winterize your car.

It’s a lot to do but it is better than winding up on the side of a road with freezing temperatures outside or a snow storm raging an you now have to wait for help. I will be home, snug by my fake fireplace. Keep warm New York and stay safe.