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Fact or fiction? Debunking some cold weather myths for your vehicle

Bill Brandt from Butitta Brothers clears up cold-weather myths to extend the life of your vehicle
Fact or fiction? Debunking some cold weather myths for your vehicle
Fact or fiction? Debunking some cold weather myths for your vehicle(WIFR)
Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 8:16 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - With sleet, snow and downright scary temperatures, car troubles create added concerns, but Bill Brandt, a store manager for local auto shop Butitta Brothers, clears up some common cold-weather myths.

Myth #1: Letting your vehicle sit idle prior to driving it

According to the American Automobile Association, a common debunked myth about winter is letting your vehicle sit still before you drive it. Bill Brandt, a store manager for local auto shop Butitta Brothers, says this is a myth.

Some drivers choose to remote start their vehicles so it’s warm and toasty. However, Brandt says you should do the opposite: let the vehicle sit for a few seconds, or as long as it takes to get in the car and put your seatbelt on. Leaving the car idle for a long period of time can affect the engine’s life. He suggests driving it to your destination or around the block so the vehicle is moving.

“Just letting it idle for a few minutes at a time probably isn’t going to be that great of help for you. But if you are concerned about keeping the battery, keeping the charging system moving, keep the vehicle moving. You probably want to maybe take the wrong block and put some miles on it. You know, we call putting a load on the charging system,” says Brandt.

Myth #2: Four-wheel drive has better traction in the snow

The majority of a vehicle’s weight is in the front because of the engine and everything else under the hood. Brandt says adding more weight to the back of the vehicle, like a 40-pound sandbag, can help evenly distribute the weight and give the vehicle more traction.

“What’s really most important and starting the car is put a load on the vehicle if you’re going to drive it, you know, just letting it idle for a few minutes at a time probably isn’t going to be that great of health,” says Brandt

Myth #3: Car batteries and cold weather don’t mix

While a car battery can have its troubles during the winter, it’s not because of the cold weather. This also has to do with the vehicle sitting stagnant for extended periods of time.

Additional tips Brandt says most drivers might not realize: check your washer fluid, wiper blades, tire pressure and tread depth. For drivers who can’t park inside the garage, park the front of the car near the garage to avoid snow and wind from piling up below your vehicle.

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