Caring for cars in the cold

Before heading out, let your car run for a few minutes to warm up

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Just like this cold weather puts stress on you and your body, it also puts stress on your car.

If you're planning on leaving the house in these frigid temps, your vehicle needs some attention.

The most important thing for you to do is give yourself a little bit of extra time.

Tuesday's not the day to rush out the door, start the car and take off. Even if your vehicle is parked in a garage.

"Nineteen degrees they're calling for, its important we get out, if we have a few minutes to crank up the car and let it run maybe three or four minutes and I will tell you this, if it's in the garage, back the tail end out of the garage a little bit," said Aaron Nelson.

Aaron Nelson, owner of Aaron's Car Care said it's very important to let your car run for a few minutes in the morning before driving off. It allows your car to adapt to these extreme temperatures and will also heat up the engine for you to stay warm.

If your car is parked outside, you may walk out to find your windshield and windows covered in ice. So what to do without an ice scraper? Put the heat and defroster on. Let it warm up and eventually the glass will thaw.

"We're Floridians, we're not familiar with this ice and stuff like that so it's important don't go out there and throw a hot thing of water on it because very likely you're going to have a cracked windshield," said Nelson.

The phones at Aaron's Car Care have been ringing off the hook since Monday.

"'Do you have time to check my antifreeze? You know I'm afraid… I'm not sure… Can you check it?' You know stuff like that so a lot of it, is people procrastinate, you know we have a tendency to do that," said Nelson.

Before a cold snap, is a good time to get your vehicle's belts and also antifreeze levels checked out. But if you're worried, it's also something you can do on your own.

"There is a hydrometer test you can actually go in and check it when you do that, you can actually check the condition of the antifreeze as far as stuff like that but also we can gauge it what the coolant or antifreeze is good for as far as how much you're covered," said Nelson.

You can buy a gauge to check the antifreeze in your car at any auto parts store. A lot of them are easy to read with simple directions.

Nelson said his shop has also been preparing for Tuesday. He got his mechanics new gloves, his wife has soup coming Tuesday and the heaters are out. In fact, he said other shops were calling to borrow heaters because it's going to be a long day for people who have to work outside.

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