It’s another North Carolina winter filled with unpredictable weather, and we finally got our first good icing of the year. As a kid it is all fun and games, but as adults we have some business to tend to every time we hear the tundra is coming to visit. Freezing temps and ice can wreak havoc on exposed automobiles, but as our valued customer you can rely on Cary Care Care to handle your vehicle’s winter preparation based on manufacturers recommendations and your vehicle’s detailed maintenance history kept here at our shop. Let’s take a minute to discuss one of the more vulnerable issues with cold weather, your cooling system.
Your Cooling System, and How Freezing Temps Affect It
The first and most important precaution you can take is to make sure your cooling system is filled with anti-freeze and not diluted with too much water. This is the whole premise of anti-freeze(hence the name).
Here is a general overview of how your cooling system works: Your motor has an intricate tunnel system weaving throughout, which acts as the channels for your anti-freeze/coolant to do it’s job. While your motor is running, a belt-driven pump drives the water through this tunnel system (where it absorbs the heat generated by your motor), and into your radiator. Your radiator is comprised of an intricate thin tubing system covered in tiny air fins, all designed to increase surface area to exchange the heat carried from the motor into the cool air your vehicle travels through (which is why the radiator is most often in the very front of the vehicle). Now here is why keeping anti-freeze levels during a cold snap can save a lot of money: Water expands when frozen, and if water is trapped in any part of this intricate system it can have a debilitating effect on your cooling system. These issues vary in severity; Water frozen in a radiator can mean a cracked radiator with a slight leak, while water allowed to deep freeze within the tunnels of your engine can mean a cracked engine block (read: new engine). This is why it is VERY important to make sure you have sufficient anti-freeze in place when the cold snaps decide to show up.
Keep in mind that your cooling system needs vary throughout the year, and winter preparation is only one aspect of a well maintained cooling system. Here at Cary Car Care we make sure first that your anti-freeze has not become acidic, and that the fluid is being changed on the proper schedule for your vehicle (normally every 30k-60k miles). Cary Car Care also checks your cooling system with every oil change. If you are unsure about the state of your cooling system we’re happy to help establish a proper maintenance schedule for all of your vehicles major systems, including the cooling.
Additional Tips To Battle the Winter Elements
- When starting your car, avoid excessive cranking. If the car doesn’t start after 20 seconds, wait a couple of minutes to let the battery recover.
- Never start a vehicle in a closed garage or idle the engine for long periods with the windows closed because carbon monoxide can build up in a confined area.
- A full tank of gas is a good idea to prevent water condensation from forming in your gas tank.
- Have your battery checked. If your car needed a jump already, the battery and/or alternator may need to be replaced.
- Use de-icer spray to prevent frozen door locks.
- Lay towels or t-shirts over windows to avoid having to scrape