Car Safety in the Cold

January 24, 2003
Posted at: 9:49 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, Ark. -- During the cold winter months, regularly inspecting your vehicle is not only important for your safety, but also the safety of others.

Mechanics say there are a number of different parts on your vehicle that need attention especially in the winter months. Otherwise, they say your vehicle could break down altogether.

Watching the warning lights in your car is pretty easy to do, but it's the less visible areas of your vehicle that really need your attention. With the recent cold snap in Region 8, it is especially important in the current chilly weather.

"(The) cold weather affects your battery," mechanic Bobby Goodson said. "The anti-freeze."

Goodson is a mechanic at Joe's Tire and Auto Service in Jonesboro. The battery and anti-freeze are but just two vehicle parts that can malfunction in cold weather. The most important item, according to Goodson is: "The tires. Make sure they're inflated properly, because cold weather drops the inflation level."

A simple way for people to keep track of their tire pressure is to you a simple tire gauge. To take a reading, place it on the tire's valve-stem, and a reading will be taken. The number should read 32 p.s.i., but that number can vary from vehicle to vehicle.

But the radiator is another important item to keep an eye out for in the cold weather.

"If your anti-freeze isn't up to specs, it could freeze, bust the head, and bust the radiator," Goodson said. "You check it by the over flow jug. If it's cool you can take the radiator cap off and check it."

Goodson also recommends that drivers check their belt and hoses. He says they should be replaced every two years, otherwise your car could break down. But the easiest piece of advice to follow, and probably the most satisfying, is a simple task, according to Goodson.

"When you start your car in the morning, warm it up a little bit, that way you won't be stepping into a cold car."