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Experts offer car maintenance tips ahead of cold blast headed to region

Posted at 6:11 PM, Feb 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-12 19:11:20-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Getting your car ready for the brutal cold starts with a trip to your mechanic to check under the hood, get your fluids topped off and have your antifreeze checked.

"In this area, you want to make sure the antifreeze tests to 30 below,” said Mike Sokolik of Jensen Tire and Auto.

But you won't even get started without a good charge. If your battery is four years or older, get it tested.

"The last thing anyone wants is to be outside someplace, it's snowing, [and] all of a sudden your car doesn't start,” Sokolik said.

And with slippery roads, you'll want to get your tire tread measured.

"We want to make sure they're wearing properly, so there's no excessive edge wear, nothing that would be a red flag,” Sokolik said.

Make sure people can see you by checking your lights and signals. Also make sure you can see them.

"Make sure your wiper blades are in good condition, so they're not streaking when you get snow or rain. That could be a visibility problem,” Sokolik said.

Now that a mechanic has your car ready, it’s up to you to do the rest. Start by throwing some bottled water and snacks in the car in case you get stranded.

“Then also things for added traction, such as a small bag of sand, some people say a bag of kitty litter will even work,” said Weysan Dun of the American Red Cross.

But that won't always get you moving. Have a blanket and extra warm clothes with you.

"Particularly, things like mittens, and gloves, warm socks, a really warm hat,” Dun said.

Don't forget jumper cables, a small shovel or broom, a phone charger, and a flashlight. Never let your gas tank get less than half full.