6 Tips for Subzero Car Care

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When the temperatures drop into the single digits, you most likely want to curl up with a good book, do some binge watching or just stay indoors. Unfortunately we’re not bears and can’t just sleep away the bad weather. At some point you’ll need to get out and go to work…or at least get some food to survive. When you do, you’re going to want to make sure that car starts and keeps running. Here’s 6 tips to make sure your car fires right up when you start it no matter how cold it gets: 


  1. Battery: The most common car problem when the temperatures drop is the battery not starting. Perform a volt test on your battery to get a new one if it’s needed prior to the bad weather hitting. If the car doesn’t start on the first try, let the car sit for a couple of minutes before trying again. If it still doesn’t start, you’ll likely need to get the jumper cables out to get it going.

  2. Wipers: Even though you may be bundled so only your eyeballs are showing, you still need to make sure you can see clearly. If you are noticing that your wiper blades just aren’t cleaning the way they used to, they’re not going to do any better in the snow. You may want to consider picking up a pair of winter wipers which aren’t very expensive and will give you much better visibility when you’re on the road.

  3. Idling: We all like to have the car roasty toasty when we get in but is idling the engine a good idea? In general, no. It can cause damage to your engine over time and it’s bad for the environment. When it’s below zero though many professionals recommend idling for a minute or two just to get the fluids moving. Not for 10 minutes or more though as we mentioned before, idling is bad for your engine and it wastes gas!

  4. Tires: Did you know a temperature change of just 10 degrees can cause a ten percent reduction of air in your tires? So bundle up and regularly check your tire pressure during severly cold weather. If you don’t know, you should double check your car’s optimal tire pressure in your owner’s manual or on the sticker inside the driver’s side door.

  5. Gas: I can almost hear my Dad’s voice “It’s going to be cold out, did you put gas in the car?” Before every snow storm he’d ask me this as a teenager. As it turns out, Dad had a solid reason. You should make sure that your gas tank is at least half-filled because it will help prevent the car’s fuel line from freezing. I guess Dad truly does know best.

  6. Frozen locks and doors...oh my!: Ever get out to the car and your door won't unlock because it's frozen? For frozen locks, you may want to have a deicer ready. Don’t have any? In a pinch you could try a squirt of hand sanitizer on the key. The alcohol in it can help dissolve the ice.

    A way to prevent your entire door from getting frozen shut to the frame is to lubricate the door’s rubber gasket with silicone. Door already frozen shut? You could try pouring lukewarm water around the seal of the door to thaw the ice. Once the door is open, make sure to dry off the inside of the seal with a towel so it doesn’t refreeze. Never ever use hot water...the temperature difference could shatter your window glass! 


Taking care of your car when the temperatures get frigid means your car will take care of you when you need to venture out of your cave in search of food. Hopefully these tips will help you out before you get left out in the cold. Any other cold weather tips you’d recommend? Comment on our Facebook page and let us know!