You have to do more than simply start your car and let it idle for a few minutes to keep it running in cold weather. The auto care pros at one of Madison Auto Care's seven NAPA service centers will help if your car won't start.
Madison is seeing snow and cold temperatures. The cold is expected to last and snow is expected again Friday.
Many of those who are lucky enough to stay home may still worry about the effect of cold on their cars and whether the cold weather will kill their batteries. Some run out to start their cars and let them idle for a few minutes, hoping that will help keep the car running.
But that supposition is wrong, according to a recent Chicago Tribune article. Yes, you need to start your car but you also need to do more than let it idle once you’ve gotten it started.
“It’s not the starting that is important, but what you do next that matters. If you start the engine and let it idle for a few minutes, the heat won’t evenly disperse through the entire vehicle,” the Tribune says. “In short, your car will warm up enough to create condensation in the fuel tank, but it won’t get hot enough to burn it away. That excess condensation may promote corrosion when water reaches your engine.
“Also, it is important to point out that sitting in an idling car is dangerous and you should never, ever let a car idle while it is inside a garage.”
Your better bet is to drive the car anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes at a time and make sure you get up to highway speeds at times. But be careful, the roads are hazardous.
“As far as frequency goes, the colder the temperature, the more often you will need to drive,” the Tribune says. “In temperatures that hover around 0 degrees F, this might mean taking a drive every single day, maybe twice. At higher temperatures, however, you may be able to drive once a week and be fine.”
The bad news is that, if it’s cold enough, your battery could weaken and die anyway. You can help your battery survive the cold by charging it when needed and keeping it and the car warm.
If your battery does die, or if you have other trouble starting your car, the certified Madison auto care specialists at any one of Madison Auto Care's seven conveniently located NAPA service centers can help: Clausen Auto, Handel Auto, Genin’s Auto, Capitol Tire, Odana Tire, Hansen’s Auto, or Aeschbach Auto.
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