DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As North Texas powers through a brief dance with arctic air, some reassurances are perhaps in order. Much like good guests, bitter cold does not come to Texas often and does not stay overlong! Still, it is to be respected, so Sheri Larkin wanted no surprises.
“None! Absolutely none,” insisted Larkin, while dropping off her SUV off at Christian Brothers Automotive in North Dallas. “I have already been there, done that!” So, she got her SUV in for service before the cold air hit.
“It is not pleasant to be stuck out on the road,” Larkin said. “It’s not safe to be out on the road and even with a cell phone these days, you don’t want to be sitting there waiting for someone to pick you up.”
Auto repair technicians said that they have been fielding calls about low tire pressure warning signals, and if a battery is going to go dead, or if a hose is going to break.
“Then, the cold will snap it,” added Jason Shiba of Christian Brothers Automotive, with a quiet chuckle. Shiba stated that both extreme heat and extreme cold show the value of preventative maintenance: even ignoring A/C repairs that you thought could wait until the summer can impact how your vehicle will handle the bitter cold.
“The defroster is not going to work as well, so that’s more scraping for you to do in the morning,” said Shiba. “Let the vehicle help you by maintaining all of those maintenance things.”
Crews with the Texas Department of Transportation are looking to maintain the area roadways. Since earlier this week, trucks have been spraying a salt and water brine solution on bridges and overpasses to prevent ice buildup. TxDOT spokesperson Val Lopez said that the mixture is not corrosive enough to harm the finish on your vehicle. A good car wash after the cold weather clears is all that is needed.
But, until the weather clears, be warned — “My husband’s already told me that we can expect batteries to go dead,” Larkin said on Thursday. “If it’s going to happen, it’s gonna happen when it’s cold!”
There are some other steps that you can take to stay safe, in case it does happen to you. Program the phone number of AAA or another tow truck company into your phone ahead of time. If you do get stuck on the road, that will ensure that help arrives as quickly as possible. Also, make sure that your tires are inflated, that your gas tank is at least halfway full, and that you are not using cruise control.
“You want to make sure your coolant and gear and all that is working, then make sure your oil is changed,” said driver Shana Hagemeyer. “Your windshield wipers are always important. I’m from the north, so we have to deal with that a lot.”
When you’re getting ready to leave, warm up your car’s battery by turning the key and holding it for up to 10 seconds. If your car does not start, wait a few minutes and then try it again. And avoid using your parking brake in cold or snowy weather.
Drivers should also keep a cold weather kit in the car — including items like blankets, a first aid kid, jumper cables, gloves, any medications that you need, water and granola bars. It is best to stay in your vehicle if you get stranded in frigid weather.