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Cold weather Car Care

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December 9, 2006

Albany - - As temperatures drop, keeping warm is essential. And if you drive, you may want to make sure you're taking the necessary steps to keep your vehicle in top shape. Spending a few extra bucks now could save you from major problems later.  

Been outside lately? It's cold. And if you can feel it, so can your car. Certified mechanic Otis Thomas says there's several things you can do, right at home, to keep your car in shape during the cold.

"What you want to do is take your radiator cap off when your car is cool, only do this when your car is cool, stick your tester in there. What it does as you squeeze it, it tests the concentration of your anti-freeze to see if it's 50-50."

He recommends changing your antifreeze once a year.

"It keeps the liquids in your cooling system from freezing, just like if you put a soda pop in the freezer, what happens when the liquid freezes, it expands. That's what will happen to your motor. It wall call an implosion, where it explodes from the inside."

Also, examine your battery. Its terminals and electrical connecters need to be clean during the cold.

"Temperature is a big factor when it comes to the electrical aspect, because it might be warm that day and you park your car but you get out in the morning and try to crank it on a cold morning, it may not crank."

Thomas says home-made remedies like baking soda and vinegar don't always do the trick. He recommends buying felt terminal protectors.

Next, make sure your belts are tight and not cracked or torn and check your hoses.

"When you check your hoses, what you're feeling for is making sure the hose is firm and not spongy and soft. If it's spongy and soft where it has bulges in it then replace it immediately because it wont last long."

Finally, if you notice any fluid leaks, get them fixed right away.

"That $40.00 you might think you're keeping in your pocket could cost you anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000 dollars to replace that motor."

Thomas also recommends getting a tune-up during the cold weather. Check your oil regularly and consider replacing your windshield wiper blades if they are worn.

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