Cold Weather Vehicle Do’s And Don’ts

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There’s probably nothing more undesirable during a harsh Minnesota winter than a broken down vehicle. I can tell you first hand how frustrated I was over the weekend with a flat tire. My intentions were good, even proactive. Fill up with gas, and put a little air into the front left tire because it’s a little low. Sounds simple enough, right? Think again. Little did I know, when it’s extremely cold, the air hoses at your local gas station/convenience stores are at risk of freezing up. When this happens, it actually takes the air out of your tire. Thankfully, I had already filled up the gas tank and was able to stay in my nice warm vehicle while I tried to figure out my next move. The spare tire is underneath, but apparently no one I know, knows how to get the thing out of there.

Thankfully, one of the Holiday Station Store employees knew exactly what she was doing. Katrina Labore suited up and said I can fix that for you. The air hose did freeze up. Labore switched it out and filled up my tire. Simple fix and she truly did save the day, for me anyway. Store Manager, David Hayes explains, “She was just doing her job. Our staff are not mechanics, but they’ll help out when they can. They’ll put fluids in your vehicle if you need help with that, fill up you tank, they’ll even run your vehicle through the car wash if you need it.”

Good information to know considering most automotive stores are limited for liability reasons on what they can assist customers with, including adding fluids to your vehicle. This prompted me to learn some more helpful tips for vehicles during these arctic winter months. My regular mechanic and Store Manager of Jiffy Lube in Baxter, James Roberts provided a short list of the standard Do’s and Don’t for these cold winter months.

  • Keep an eye on your tires. This is especially critical for aluminum rim tires, as they tend to lose air faster.
  • Don’t run low on gas. Gas lines can freeze up when it’s really cold.
  • Get your battery tested regularly. Cold cranking amps start to drain and cause the vehicle to have a hard start on cold mornings. And/or use a maintainer for a low and slow charge overnight.
  • Test the coolant. This is to check what temperature it will withstand.
  • Get an oil change on a regular basis.

And, last but not least. Help your fellow neighbor, who just may be a complete stranger. You never know when you might need a little help yourself.