Winter Isn’t Over Yet, Check Your Car Now

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Mechanic checks car battery. (WHO-HD)

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ANKENY, Iowa – We’ve seen unusually warm weather for January recently but the cold temperatures will be back before you know it.

Local mechanics say if you haven’t already, right now is the perfect time to get your car into winter driving shape.

”If you’re already having concerns with your car with how it starts or how it runs, when it’s nice out those things get amplified by the time it gets cold,” said Jerry Burns, auto technician instructor at Des Moines Area Community College. “So, if you have a vehicle that starts kind of hard when it’s warm outside or has a check engine light, those things are going to be even worst in the winter. You should get those taken care of.”

With 20’s in the forecast, working on your car should be done sooner than later.

Here’s a checklist of items that any novice driver can do in 30 minutes or less.

First, you want to start with your battery.

“If you’ve got a battery that is somewhat weak, now it’s going to act up worse on you when it’s cold out. You may not be able to get your vehicle started in the morning,” said Burns.

He says that you want to check for proper voltage and post conditions. If there is too much corrosion, simply take a wire brush and wipe it off.

The next is maybe the most important, tire tread. Burns says that most people will drive around with inadequate tire tread.  The easiest way to test tread is to grab a penny. Take the top of coin, face it downward into the tread, if Abe Lincoln’s is not completely covered, you need new tires.

Some smaller items to address, check your washer fluid. You want to make sure you have enough in the reserve. Also, invest in a better brand. Budget brands can freeze when the temps drop below 20 degrees.

Finally, make sure your wiper blades aren’t cracked. If they are, you can replace them for around $10 and most auto parts stores will install them for free.

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