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Is warming your engine a winter must? 


CAR-Cold-weather-car-care

Five tips for better cold-weather car care

(BPT) – Warming up his car for a few minutes before heading to work is a winter morning routine for Steve Bailey. “I hate getting into a cold car, so letting it warm up for five minutes is as important for me as for the vehicle,” says Bailey, who lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“My car is parked outside and I think it runs better after idling for a while, especially on below-zero mornings,” he says.

Plenty of cold-climate folks share Bailey’s winter car-care philosophy. But advancements in engine technology is reducing the need to idle, even in colder temperatures. According to many auto industry experts, the efficiency of today’s fuel-injected engines makes winter idling nearly unnecessary for most cars. U.S. Department of Energy experts report driving a gas-powered vehicle warms it twice as fast as idling it, and most auto manufacturers recommend starting your car, then driving slowly after only about 30 seconds of idling.

Excessive idling also wastes fuel and adds harmful emissions to the atmosphere. Many states and municipalities have enacted idling restrictions to curb auto emissions and minimize human exposure to carbon monoxide and other noxious exhaust gases.

Instead of warming your car each morning this winter, you’ll be better off taking time now to winterize your vehicle. AAA recommends checking these five key areas:

1. Consider an oil change. “Motor oil is one of the most important fluids in a car, so it’s important to go into winter knowing you’ve got clean, high-quality oil to keep the engine lubricated, even in frigid temperatures,” says Andrew Hamilton, technical services manager for Cenex brand lubricants.

Deciding whether to change your car’s oil type before temperatures plunge depends on the number of miles you drive and the type of motor oil you use. “Traditional mineral-based oils tend to thicken in cold temperatures, which can cause unnecessary engine wear,” says Hamilton. “They also need to be changed more often than newer synthetic-blend or full-synthetic oils. Full synthetic oils, like Cenex Maxtron 5W-30, flow better at low temperatures, for easier cold startups, and they provide longer performance, taking most cars up to 10,000 miles between oil changes.”

Not sure which oil to buy? Hamilton recommends using the online vehicle and equipment lookup tool found at Cenex.com. “Find your vehicle’s make and model, and the tool will give you engine oil recommendations that match its maintenance needs.”

2. Check tire pressure. Properly inflated tires maximize traction on wet or icy roads and help protect against wheel damage from potholes.

3. Test your battery. Batteries usually give little notice before dying. Since cold temperatures can reduce power by up to 50 percent, batteries that have been used for three years or more should be tested. Make sure posts and connections are free of corrosion. Remove any corrosion with a solution of baking soda and water, using a small wire brush.

4. Top off antifreeze. Make sure your car’s radiator contains the proper amount of a 50/50 mix of coolant and water. You can check the composition of radiator fluid using an inexpensive tester, available at auto parts stores. Be sure to check the antifreeze label to see if the product you are buying is premixed.

5. Inspect wipers and fluid level. Shorter days and precipitation ranging from snow and ice to sleet and rain pose visibility challenges in winter. Make sure wiper blades are in good condition and replace them if they’re more than a year old. Be sure the windshield washer fluid reservoir is filled with no-freeze washer fluid.

For additional automotive maintenance tips and an opportunity to nominate someone for free fuel this winter, visit Cenex.com.

 

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Keeping your car battery on track for winter


Here’s a cool idea: Be sure your car’s battery is in good condition before venturing out into the cold.

(NAPS)—Preventing a frozen battery in the winter is easier than you may think if you take some time to check out the situation before nasty weather sets in.
To ensure that your car battery starts dependably, no matter how outrageous the weather, Interstate Batteries cold weather expert Gale Kimbrough offers some simple tips to protect your car battery against severe cold conditions:
Test the starting power: The cold weather can dramatically reduce a battery’s available starting power, so have the vehicle’s starting and charging system tested every three months or every oil change.
Charge the battery: Use a battery charger to maintain charge levels and keep the battery in good condition. If the battery is more than three years old, it should be tested to make sure it can survive the coldest winter months.
Test the battery: Have the battery tested before taking a long trip or after it’s been recharged.
Inspect the battery cables, posts and fasteners: Preparing your car for the winter doesn’t end with the battery itself. You need to inspect your battery cables, posts and fasteners. Make sure the cables are in good shape and are secured firmly to the battery. Corrosion keeps power from flowing freely from the battery, reducing the power that is available to start the car.
Keep it clean: Clean the battery terminals with a wire brush or spray some battery cleaner on the terminals.
In just 30 seconds, Interstate All Battery Center locations can provide motorists with a free printout analysis of their vehicle’s battery condition—from projected battery life to cranking performance. It’s important to have the battery and electrical system checked by a professional. Sometimes the naked eye cannot detect the presence of corrosion because it is hidden under the metal between the connection and the post.
A fully charged battery is the best defense against cold weather and vehicle nonstarts because engines require more cranking amps in colder weather. The cold also reduces a battery’s efficiency, reducing its charge acceptance and ability to start an engine. An engine at 32 degrees Fahrenheit often demands more than 150 percent cranking power from the battery than it does at 80 degrees. At 0 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be 250 percent.
For more information, visit www.interstatebatteries.com.

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