Bob Fenster, an auto mechanic in Omaha/Council Bluffs, says the frigid weather is tough on vehicles and it’s likely worth the extra gas it takes to warm up a vehicle before taking off. “When it gets this cold, you need to warm it up a little bit, because a lot of things that aren’t normally an issue or making noise when it’s 70 degrees outside -will- make noise, and the power steering is a little rough first thing in the morning,” Fenster says. “Warming it up a little bit when it’s sitting outside is a good thing to do, for a little while anyway.”
If your vehicle’s battery is several years old or weak, you may need a jump — or a replacement battery. “The hardest time on a car, the most wear, is when it first starts up,” Fenster says. “That’s why you want to let it warm up a little bit before you just throw it in drive and take off. That transmission fluid also needs to warm up a little bit before it kinda’ goes.”
Iowa drivers can experience any number of other potential problems when it gets bitter cold. “We’ll see a lot of low tires. A tire that’s just a little bit low and you’ve been adding air once every other day or once a week and all of the sudden when it gets this cold, it’s flat in the morning,” Fenster says. “You’ll see power steering problems, too, because that fluid gets so thick and you’re turning it side to side, you’ll have ruptures or breaks there, too.”
Antifreeze should test from 20- to 40-below zero and he says to make sure the overflow reservoir is full so you get good heat when it starts.