Pella Chronicle

Car Help

October 19, 2011

Help Your Car Withstand Harsh Winter Weather

Pella — Automobiles can be very resilient. Drivers typically don't treat their cars with kid gloves, but most cars keep chugging along in spite of it. Of course, drivers who treat their cars well can expect to get as much in return from their vehicles. That's especially true when winter weather arrives, which is the harshest season vehicles must endure every year. Harsh weather coupled with less-than-ideal roadways typically take their toll on a vehicle as the season progresses, and it's up to drivers to help their cars withstand the elements of winter and make it to spring in drivable condition. Short of moving to a locale that's warm and sunny 12 months a year, there's little drivers can do to avoid winter weather; however, there are several ways drivers can prepare their vehicles for the months ahead.

Address your antifreeze. Much like a winter coat protects people from winter weather, antifreeze protects vehicles when the weather outside is frightful. Not every antifreeze is created equal, and inadequate antifreeze can cause water pump failure and even a cracked engine block. Drivers often fail to monitor their antifreeze levels throughout the winter, which can hurt their cars and might even be harmful to the environment. Traditional ethylene glycol, or EG, antifreezes have a sweet smell and taste that attracts animals and, if ingested, can harm local wildlife or even household pets. Propylene glycol antifreeze does not boast a sweet smell or taste, and though safe if ingested, reduces the likelihood that animals will be drawn to it. AMSOIL Propylene Glycol Antifreeze is compatible with all other antifreeze products and does not require a complete system flush before usage, easing the transition from EG antifreeze to a more eco-friendly alternative.

Check the vehicle's charging system. Car batteries are forced to work harder in cold weather, making it easier for a battery to die when the mercury drops. To avoid being stranded in the cold, ask your mechanic to check the vehicle's charging system before the onset of winter to ensure the battery is ready for the cold months ahead.

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