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Keep Your Engine Starting During the Deep Freeze

Created: 01/02/2014 5:32 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

The subzero temperatures have been unbearable for Northlanders and their vehicles. Repair shops are working overtime getting them running through the deep freeze.

Temperatures got above zero in areas of the Northland on Thursday, but that did not help anyone with a battery that was frozen solid.

For everyone else the engine turning over was music to their ears, but Wayne Packingham had a different issue.

“I went out one morning during one of these colder nights and my brake pedal was as solid as a rock. It wasn't moving or giving me any brake or anything,” Packingham said.

Those frigid failures have kept the mechanics busy at Allstar Service Center in Duluth according to Service Manager Gavin Aker.

“It has been pretty much constant customers coming in the door, phone calls and cars in the parking lot since the winter storm hit,” Aker said.

He said even his mechanics had some trouble with the cold.

“Battery problems, it's tough to avoid them at this point. I was saying earlier one of our own guy's vehicle wouldn't start this morning because of the cold," Aker said.

He recommends getting a new battery if you need it, but there is another trick to keep it turning over.

“Try and start your car at least once a day and let it run for 10 to 15 minutes in this cold weather so you don't get it sitting for two or three days. Because you sit that long in this kind of cold and you're not going to start,” Aker said.

Aker said coolant can turn to slush and ice as well and drivers should check for coolant rated to 40 degrees below zero.

The mechanics also said to check your tires. For every 10 degrees the temperature drops your tires can lose a pound of pressure or even lead to a flat tire.

“A lot of gas station outside air hoses aren't working right now because of the cold temperatures so don't be afraid to go into your local auto clinic and just ask them to check the tire pressure for you,” Aker said.

The mechanics also recommended running an extension cord out to vehicles with engine block heaters, but that is not an option for everyone.

Those tips should come in handy when temperatures drop again this weekend.

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