Cold weather can take a toll on your car - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Cold weather can take a toll on your car

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(01/07/14) - The brutally cold weather can take a toll on your car.

Mid-Michigan auto repair shops have been busy handling cold weather related problems - like dead batteries.

On a day like Tuesday, when you put the key in the ignition, you cross you fingers and hope for the best.

But even after it starts, your car faces some serious challenges from Old Man Winter.

"Cold can do crazy thing to cars," said Dan Erickson, Serra Chevrolet service manager.

The service department at the Serra Chevrolet dealership gets extra busy when the thermometer heads toward zero.

"Tried to start it this morning, looking forward to getting to work. Didn't have much progress with that. Couldn't get the engine to even make a noise," said Kyle Downing, of Flushing.

Dead batteries are common when the Arctic express rolls into town.

"You have all these computers running all the time, there's a constant draw on the newer vehicles," said Tate Keelin, Serra Chevrolet service manager.

For many cars, four or five-year-old batteries just don't handle cold weather very well. For those who have traveled through deep snow, the wheels can get packed.

"You've got to get it out, otherwise, you drive down the road once they get the road clean and you're going to feel the vibration," said Tate Keelin, Serra Chevrolet Service Manager.

Other repairs might be necessary to keep drivers' teeth from chattering.

"The heat didn't work. I came about 18 miles here and the heat wasn't on," said Bonnie Kehoe, of Genesee.

Another problem they see is frozen windows. If moisture gets inside the door, the window can get frozen in place. Flat tires are also more common in the winter.

"When it's cold, you're going to lose some tire pressure," said Dan Erickson, Serra Chevrolet Service Manager.

The cold can also make metal brittle.

"We had one vehicle yesterday that had a broken tie rod. The cold could have contributed to that," Erickson said.

Keeping a car in a garage can reduce the stress cold weather causes. But if that's not possible, "Just walk around your vehicle, look at every possibility before you just hop in, turn the key and go," Erickson said.

Before you start your next trip, make sure you have plenty of wiper fluid.

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