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Caring for your car in the cold

We spoke to Dunrite Automotive Service in St. Louis Park for some tips on how to keep your car running in the cold.

ST LOUIS PARK, Minn. — Even colder air is headed our way with temperatures starting to drop on Thursday across the state. 

Related: WEATHER: Snow continues thru Tuesday

The cold weather can be tough on vehicles, so we spoke to Dunrite Automotive Service in St. Louis Park for some tips on how to keep your car running in the cold. 


Phil Abramson, service manager for Dunrite Automotive, said make sure to check your car battery. "Most batteries are three- to five-year warranties... If your battery is over four or five years old and it hasn't been replaced, now would be a good time to think about it," Abramson said. But Abramson said it's the summer heat that can really drain your car's battery. "Usually it's what kind of gives the kick to the battery that, come that winter when it gets cold, is going to cause it to fail." 


Abramson said the question he gets asked the most during the winter is, "Can you put air in my tires?" There should be a sticker on the driver's door that tells you the ideal tire pressure for your vehicle. Abramson said tires will typically lose 1-2 pounds per square inch for every 10 degrees of temperature change. "The lower they get, the faster the air drops out and the better chance of having a tire dismount from the wheel and leave you with a flat tire," Abramson said. 

Cooling System 

Abramson said he sees car issues when temperatures get below zero and a vehicle does not have the correct protection. "It's just a minute or two check with a tester that'll tell you the protection level of the coolant," Abramson said. "You want to roughly have it between negative 30 to negative 35 degrees, which is a 50/50 mixture of anti-freeze and water, which is the best for your coolant protection and your boiling protection."

And there's no need to idle with modern cars. "Studies have said that long periods of warm up are not beneficial. That actually can be detrimental. But you should at least let it run a minute or two just to get those fluids warmed up and flowing," Abramson said. 


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