MCALLEN, Texas (KVEO) — Extreme temperatures can mean trouble for your vehicle, as it is more susceptible to breaking down on the road.
But with some simple maintenance, you can avoid complications.
Cold weather safety tips that will keep you prepared
Richard Sanchez, the owner of Sanchez Auto Repair and Inspections, says now is the time to have a thorough look at your vehicle’s parts and functions.
“Cold weather affects brakes; cold weather affects moving parts,” he said. “So, we need to be sure that the vehicle is working properly and efficiently so that way we don’t cause an accident with somebody else.”
He recommends first checking out your battery, as the typical heat calls for it to be replaced every couple of years.
“The battery is essential because the cold temperature is a true test of the battery. Most batteries in the Valley don’t last more than two to three years and people don’t check it,” he said. “So when there’s a cold temperature, you’re going to have a true test whether it’s a start or no start condition.”
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Once your battery is good to go, you’ll also want to pay special attention to your tires before hitting the road. Ensuring they’re at the recommended pressure will keep them from over-inflating.
You should also check whether it’s time for brand new tires because if they’re over-worn, you risk both yours and fellow travelers’ safety.
“Check the tread wear — how good is the tread of the tire — because if you’re driving on the highway or expressway and there’s a patch of cold ice, you want to make sure you have good tires for a better grip on the road,” Sanchez said. “If you don’t, you’ll be slipping and sliding and may cause an accident.”
Sometimes, a thorough inspection isn’t enough. He says there are certain things to keep in your vehicle should you find yourself with a problem on the road.
Jumper cables are always a must to keep on hand, but they aren’t the only essentials. He recommends having washer fluid, which will help keep your windshields clear when driving in unclear conditions.
“If you’re driving early in the morning there could be dew, there could be mist, and your wipers are also essential to the vehicle,” he said. “Make sure your wipers are not torn because windshields are very expensive and we don’t want to damage the windshield by scratching with the metal of the wiper.”
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Antifreeze is also important, serving a multitude of functions, from keeping the heater in working condition to preventing rust and more.
“It extends the boiling point of water and the freezing point of water,” Sanchez explained. “If you just have cold water in your radiator and it starts to freeze outside, it’s going to get rock hard. It’s going to get solid and that’s going to cause damage to your car.”
He adds the more people are responsible and take these safety precautions, the fewer chances of collisions.
If you’re unsure what kind of maintenance your vehicle requires, he recommends going back to look through its handbook or talking to a mechanic for additional guidance.