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How to prepare your car for cold weather

HOUSTON – When the temperatures drop, experts said it may be time for car maintenance. 

“When you have a sudden shift in the weather, different things happen with the car,” said Tony Zapoli with Advanced Auto Tech. People started calling Zapoli as soon as they heard, “cold front.” 

He urges motorists to check their tire pressure.

“This is 27.5 right now, after a cold front, it’s probably going to lose a few pounds, so this needs to be brought up to about 36 pounds,” Zapoli said, demonstrating with a tire.

People should also check their car’s fluids — especially coolant or anti-freeze. The liquid helps regulate car engines during extreme temperatures.

“Just make sure it’s up to the minimum when the engine’s cold. If the engine’s hot, it’ll be up to the maximum,” said Zapoli.

He also suggests drivers ensure their windshield wipers are ready to go.

“When we do a state inspection, just run your finger down the blade, make sure it’s nice and smooth if you got any nicks and cuts in it, that’s what leave streaks on the windshield,” said Zapoli.

He also recommends people keep their batteries in good shape. On average, a battery lasts two to five years.

Lastly, he said people should inspect their car’s air conditioner and heater and not just to be comfortable.

“Turn the car on, turn the heater on, make sure you’re getting good heat flow out of it, make sure the AC does work, because you need the air conditioner to dry the air, so it doesn’t fog the windows up,” said Zapoli.

AAA says you don't need to warm up your car for a few minutes when you first turn it on. The group says letting a car idle actually requires more time for the vehicle to warm up and allows excess fuel to get into the engine.