Winterizing your car for the hard freeze

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A hard freeze is expected to hit southwest Louisiana this week, and that means it's time to get your car ready for the cold.

"The cold temperature makes everything frailer in your engine," says Martie Martin of Master Mechanics in Lake Charles. "It's made to work in a certain temperature."

If there's one time of year mechanics are most cautious of vehicle care, Martin says it's just before a hard freeze.

"If you don't take care of your vehicle, the parts could weaken and break on the vehicle," says Martin.

Martin says checking your car battery is the first place to start.

"Overnight the coldness can make a battery go bad," says Martin. "Always make sure the terminals are not corroded and that the battery water is fine."

It is also crucial to make sure the hoses and belts in your engine are up to par.

"When you press on it make sure it's soft and you don't feel crumbling," says Martin. "If you feel crumbling that means that your hose is collapsing on the inside."

When checking your antifreeze, the color of the liquid needs to be a bright green.

If the color turns to a yellowish green, then Martin says it is time to change the antifreeze.

If your vehicle uses DexCool, the color of the liquid should be a bright orange and not a dark orange.

Martin says you need to also check things outside the engine as well.

"Make sure your windshield wipers are up to par and that they're not cracked," says Martin. "The change of the weather could make your tires deflate and inflate. Make sure your tire air pressure is up to par too."

Martin says these maintenance check ups can save money in the long run and ultimately prepare your car for the cold temperatures ahead.

If you do plan to check your antifreeze at home, mechanics want to remind everyone to properly dispose of the liquids from the process.

They say the toxic waste can be taken to any automotive shop or recycling center.

Copyright 2010 KPLC. All rights reserved.