Cold weather preps for car and house - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Cold weather preps for car and house

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This type cold is so rare around these parts it is worth going over what's needed to survive it. Our homes and cars need some TLC too. We are looking at temperatures in the teens tonight. That means it's time to prep pipes and car radiators.

Bob Carter is owner of The Garage auto shop in Pelham. With cold weather coming in, Carter says it's smart to have a checklist of car care procedures. First and foremost, checking your coolant level is a must. The radiator and reservoir should be full.

"It's a mixture of water and an oil type substance to cool and protect your engine. If you lose that fluid your car can overheat and that's probably the most detrimental thing you can do short of running out of oil," said Carter.

Contrary to what some may think, carter says overheating during the winter is quite common. That's why your next step should be to check anything made of plastic, like radiators, hoses and fittings under the hood.

"That plastic when it gets hot expands. Then suddenly it drops to 20 degrees at night and it shrinks up and you can get cracks. So your car may be fine one day and then the next you come out and there is a huge puddle underneath," said Carter.

If you notice a puddle that wasn't there the night before, take your car to the shop. Another item to check are tires. Carter says pressure should be somewhere between 32 and 35 pounds. And don't neglect your windows either. He says defrost before attempting to roll them down.

Now that your car is taken care of, turn your attention to your house.

"Mainly probably water pipes would be in danger of freezing and bursting," said Frank Davies, manager at the Little Hardware store in Mountain Brook. 

He says insulation is the best way to protect exposed pipes. There are several options for insulation. Check your local hardware store to find the one that works best for your house.

Davies says the insulation you put on pipes are not like Christmas lights that you need to take off after winter. He says you can leave them on your pipes year around until it's time to buy new ones.
    

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