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Here's what to do when using your car in frigid temperatures

Posted at 7:48 AM, Jan 31, 2023

BROWN COUNTY (NBC 26) — Picture your typical morning: you get into your car, and you're about to take off for work or another destination on an extremely cold day.

Here is what you should do when using your car in frigid temperatures.

Should you let your car warm up before driving?

"For a few minutes," Emily Menzel of De Pere said.

"I don't think you should," Mike Kelleher of Ashwaubenon said. "You can just start it up and make it run. If you let it sit, that's usually considered pretty bad for it."

So to answer this question, I went up I-41 to talk with Joe Tellijohn, the manager of Auto Aces of Howard.

"I think that it should warm up," Tellijohn said. "Ultimately, I'm not saying run for a half hour. But, you know, getting 5-10 minutes of time for the car to acclimate, warm up. . . beyond that, I think you're probably just wasting fuel."

Should you have at least a half a tank of gas?

"You should have a full tank if possible," Menzel said.

"Try to keep it above a quarter tank is what I try to do," Kelleher said.

"Realistically, I think you should [have at least a half a tank of fuel]," Tellijohn said. "Ultimately, this is open air inside the fuel tank, and there's moisture in the air. You want to reduce the amount of ability of moisture to accumulate in your tank."

If your tire pressure light goes on, should you get your tires pumped up?

"Usually you shouldn't because temperature can affect the tire pressure," Menzel said.

"Yeah, usually you should be checking those," Kelleher said.

"Knowing that the tire is inflated properly is always better than trusting if the light is accurate or not," Tellijohn said. "So I would say, if you can get off the road safely, and to a gas station or your local service station, have them check the tire for air. Most places will do it for free."

Experts say never warm-up your car in your garage, even if your garage door is open. They say doing so can expose you to carbon monoxide poisoning.