Car owners should take heed in cold temps

Wiper blades, tires, more require special attention in extreme winter weather, says Lake Arbor Auto

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (Jan. 8, 2024) – The Denver area is about to experience its first extended cold-weather snap of the season with lows in the single digits, and Lake Arbor Automotive & Truck encourages drivers to be prepared. The Westminster-based repair-and-maintenance shop offers vehicle owners Five Ways to Beat the Winter:

1. Allow a brief amount of warm-up time.

Today’s vehicles don’t require much warm-up, but an extra 30 seconds often helps, mostly because the fluids in your car have an optimal operating temperature. Caveat: Unattended warm-up or “puffing” is illegal in most Colorado cities due to the vulnerability to car theft.

2. Plug in your block heater if you have one.

The heat to the engine will allow it to resist the potential stress caused by the freezing temperatures – not to mention the threat of freezing under-protected radiator fluid.

3. Lift windshield wipers off the windshield during long periods of inactivity.

Wipers ice up faster when they are in contact with the snow on the glass, and they lose the pliability that makes them effective. Also, do a good job of scraping the bottom and edges of your windshield, again to protect the wipers.

4. Clear the cowl grate at the outside bottom of your windshield.

The cowl grate provides the air intake for the car’s heater, and any blockage will increase the risk that under-hood fumes could seep into the passenger compartment. These fumes can include carbon monoxide.

5. Reduce your expectations for your vehicle’s range if it is all-electric.

Those EVs use the battery to heat the car’s cabin, so the colder it gets, the less distance you can expect to achieve on a single charge.

Lake Arbor Auto also recommends that you have your vehicle checked for cold-weather worthiness. The main areas of the car requiring attention are the battery, anti-freeze, wiper blades, washer fluid, tires and overall reliability. You DON’T want to end up on the side of the road in these temperatures.

There are plenty of additional items to keep in mind while driving in cold, snowy weather, many of which pertain to safe driving on slick roads. Consider keeping a bag of kitty litter in the trunk in case the car gets stuck in ice. Clear your entire car of snow and ice to enhance visibility. Keep your fuel tank full, thus minimizing chances of condensation in the fuel lines and providing an ongoing source of heat in case you do get stranded. And above all, when roads are slick, do everything at slower speeds. That includes acceleration, deceleration and turning.