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What You Need to Know to Protect Your Car in Extreme Cold

The Polar Vortex 2019 is here in Michigan and it is not treading lightly. The arctic chill is triggering cold snaps and persistent frosts not seen in the region since 1994. If you have to drive in this week’s frigid temperatures, we urge you to take a few steps to prepare your vehicle for the cold.

Following these tips will help ensure the safety of you and your passengers:

  • Take a close look at your windshield before you head out for any signs of cracks or chips. Extreme cold contracts glass, which may cause it to crack or shatter. Due to the manufacturing processes of most windshields, cracks in them are most likely to spread horizontally. That is to say, if there are two chips side-by-side horizontally, the cold will more than likely cause them to connect with a crack.
  • Cold air is denser than warm air. When a cold snap hits, the air in your tires will “shrink,” resulting in lower tire pressure. Always check your tire pressure for all tires, plus your spare, before your drive. Not sure the right tire pressure for your tires? There should be a decal at the bottom of the driver’s side door when opened that described desired pressure amounts.
  • Extreme cold can actually “drain” a battery of its power due to internal changes in the battery’s composition. Your car’s battery is no exception. Do what you can to keep your battery fully charged at all times, as your battery will need all the strength it can muster to start your car in the cold.
  • Motor oil will start to thicken or coagulate in the cold. Major problems with your engine will occur if the thick oil causes internal jams and inefficiencies. Get your oil changed as soon as possible if you have not had one in the last few months. The Polar Vortex 2019 could last a while, so you might not have the time to “wait it out” before getting an oil change.
  • Keep your car’s gas tank at least half-filled with gas. This precaution prevents fuel line freeze-up due to condensation that forms on the inside of the gas tank.

The hazards of getting out of your car along frozen streets can be dangerous, even fatal. It is important for you to know what to do to stay safe.

If your vehicle is having a problem while you are driving:

  • Try to get to the right-hand shoulder of the road as soon as you possibly can, especially if you are on the highway.
  • If you know that you are going to need roadside assistance, use your phone to call for assistance ASAP. You can usually use a maps app to find a roadside assistance or towing company near you, assuming you do not have such a service already in your contacts.
  • To avoid being hit by a passing vehicle, never work on your vehicle from the side that’s exposed to traffic. While you are waiting for roadside assistance to arrive, you should stand a good distance off the side of the road. However, please use caution when walking over icy terrain, and be mindful that you may be waiting for a while. Do not linger in freezing temperatures without appropriate protective clothing.

Accidents Happen But We Can Help

Even with all of the mentioned precautions followed to the letter, you could still run into trouble when driving in cold weather. If you get into a car accident or suffer another injury related to the onset of the Polar Vortex, call Goodman Acker, P.C. at (248) 793-2010. Our Detroit personal injury lawyers are always standing by to see how we can help the wrongfully injured pursue fair compensation.

Schedule your free, no obligation consultation today.