Preparing your vehicle for the upcoming frigid temperatures

Data pix.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- A big temperature change is headed toward the Tennessee Valley.

Temperatures will stay shy of 40° Tuesday, and wind chills will stay below 30°. By sunrise Wednesday morning, temperatures are likely to be in the teens.

WHNT News 19 Meteorologist Alex Puckett says the cold air we can expect in January is pushing south now, and the sudden cold can cause some issues.

"Cold weather can cause problems," says Puckett. "Anything from freezing pipes to causing issues potentially with cars."

Car maintenance in cold temperatures is crucial.

Bill Penney Toyota says the top things they see during the cold weather are dead batteries and tire pressure lights.

Shop foreman Joseph Clifford says when the cold hits, your tires start losing air.

"The tire will release about a pound of air for every ten degrees that it drops," says Clifford. That's three pounds of air lost for a thirty degree drop.

"Doing a little bit of over inflation on a tire during this cold weather is actually a good thing and helps prevent abnormal wear on your tires," says Clifford. He adds that one or two pounds over the recommended tire pressure is fine during the cold.

The drop in temperature also affects your vehicle's oil, turning it thicker than usual. "It takes a little extra time for it to warm up and fully coat the engine so before you put it under load, let it run," says Clifford. Let your car run, but not in an enclosed area, like a garage. Clifford says to always leave ventilation for exhaust gases.

When it comes to icy windshields... planning ahead can save you time, and another expensive problem.

"People used to go out and put hot water on their windshields but that can lead to a severe temperature change which can lead to a fracture in your glass. Some tricks that have worked is putting a towel over the windshield so that when the dew point hits, and then it freezes over, it doesn't actually freeze to their glass."

To not add extra time to your commute in the morning, you can prepare the night before.

In addition to protecting your car, there are 4 P's you should also be thinking of during the cold weather.

  • People: Check on your friends, family, and neighbors. If you know anyone who doesn’t have access to central heating or another way to keep warm, make sure they have a way to stay warm Tuesday. The elderly are particularly susceptible to extreme cold.
  • Pets: Time to bring them inside, or at the very least they need a warm, dry shelter. With temps dropping into the teens, that probably won’t be anywhere outdoors.
  • Plants: Bring those sensitive plants on your front porch inside (if you haven’t already).
  • Pipes: If you’ve got pipes exposed to the outdoors, you need to wrap them up. Even newspaper can make a difference, but it might be worth a trip to the hardware store to find something specifically made to insulate your pipes. You should also leave your faucet running with a light stream of water to prevent your pipes from freezing
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