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3 On Your Side: Cold Weather Car Advice

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jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As the coldest weather to hit the area in two years has settled in, we can consider ourselves lucky that we haven’t had to deal with much snow like much of the Midwest has. Eventually though, we’ll have to deal with it too, and many drivers aren’t prepared for the task of driving in it. So 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has advice to prepare for the next round of weather.

This blast of arctic air isn’t welcomed by many motorists and service calls are soaring. On Wednesday, AAA Mid-Atlantic responded to over 2,600 dead battery calls alone.

The time to think about preparing your car for driving in winter weather is before the snow starts piling up. According to AAA, there are some simple things drivers can do to get their car ready like considering winter wiper blades wrapped in rubber to reduce buildup of ice and snow on the glass. You should inspect the tread on tires, and keep them properly inflated. When the temperature drops, so will the pressure inside of your tires.

Your emergency road kit should be updated for the winter months with items like blankets, extra gloves, hats, scarves, an ice scraper and brush and a bag of abrasive material like sand or salt.

When snow and ice start to cover the roadways, make sure your gas tank stays at least half-full to avoid gas line freeze-ups. Don’t use cruise control on slick surfaces, avoid tailgating to allow for extra braking distance, and if you do feel your wheels slipping, don’t slam on the brakes — continue to look and steer in the direction you want to go.

In frigid temperatures, frozen door locks are common. Never pour hot water on a lock or windshield because this could make it worse or cause the window to shatter. Instead, carefully heat the end of the key with a match or lighter. If that doesn’t work, sometimes dipping the tip of the key in rubbing alcohol, using a can of de-icer spray, or heating the lock with a hair dryer will work too.

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