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What NOT to do to your car when weather turns icy

KOKH/FILE

Here are 3 things not to do to your car when the weather turns icy and cold.

1. Leave your fluids unchecked

This includes your antifreeze and windshield washer fluid. To check your antifreeze, you need a $4 plastic tool that measures how cold the weather can get before your antifreeze fails to protect your engine.

2. Not check your battery

Your battery should be at a minimum of 12 volts to start your car. If you don't have a multimeter to check your battery, any auto parts store will check it for you. Be sure they do a "load test" to see how your battery reacts when you start your car.

3. Not check your belt

Newer cars have only one belt called a serpentine belt. Most belts are between the front of the engine and your radiator, but on some cars you'll find it on the side. You need to look for cracks in the belt. That's a sign your belt needs to be replaced. When I replace a belt, I keep the old one in my trunk as a spare.

4. Use hot water to clear an icy windshield

Hot water will crack a cold windshield. Instead, use cool water and a scraper. If you're in a pinch and don't have a scraper, you can use a credit card.

5. Turn on your windshield wipers if they're frozen to the windshield

It'll pull the wipers out of the arms or burn out the motor which is expensive to replace.

3.Forget to check your tires

Check the air pressure, the wear on the side of the tire, and the amount of tread. Cold temperatures mean less air pressure in the tires, so you want to check that with a $2 tire pressure gauge you can get at any auto parts store. You want the pressure in the tires to be the same what's called for on the sticker inside the driver's door. Next, check for cracks along the side of the tire and check to see when the tire was made. Look for DOT then some numbers. The last 4 digits indicate the week and year the tire was made. Finally, check the tread. Take a penny and turn it upside down. Place it on the top of the tire. If you can see all of Abe Lincoln's head, you need new tires.

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