HOUSTON — Houstonians only have a limited amount of time to enjoy warm weather Friday before a cold front expected to bring near-freezing temperatures blows in on Saturday.
What steps should drivers take to make sure their vehicles hold up? Dave Skorka, owner of The Auto Doc on Montrose Boulevard near downtown Houston, offers his top three tips.
“We call it battery season,” said Skorka on Thursday afternoon. “When the summer heat hits, we have battery problems. When the winter cold hits, we have battery problems.”
So, No. 1, Skorka says make sure the vehicle’s battery terminals are clean and check its date code.
“If your battery’s three years old or older, you may want to get it checked,” he said. “We do that for free here.”
Skorka will also check customers’ anti-freeze for free. Keeping a close eye on the coolant system is his second piece of advice.
“We likely will not see issues with cooling systems unless you have just pure water in your system, which is not good anyway,” he said. “Coolant will protect you from freeze-ups inside your radiator engine and prevent you from having any damage done there.”
Finally, No. 3: the tires. Cold causes them to lose air, so Skorka recommends double-checking the pressure, along with the tread depth and their age.
“If you have older tires, the rubber is harder and not so pliable,” he said. “If it’s not so pliable, it’ll have less traction.”
Even though the Houston area probably won’t see ice, Skorka says it’s never a bad idea to fill up the vehicle’s fuel tank before hitting the road.
Skorka says extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can cause an existing chip in your windshield to crack and spread. However, those temperatures will not create a chip.
The good news: the worst damage to a vehicle car happens during prolonged extreme temperatures, which is not expected to happen during this cold snap.