AAA: Sub-freezing temperatures lead to numerous vehicle failures

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As vehicles across Oklahoma fail in numerous ways due to extreme low temperatures, AAA Oklahoma’s 150 roadside technicians continue to work to rescue drivers.

AAA says call volumes since the sub-freezing weather began eight days ago have been extremely high.

AAA Oklahoma advises all to avoid travel unless it is critical.

Officials say they are responding as quickly as possible with priority given to those who are in stranded vehicles.

Tips to Keep Your Car Running and Stay Safe:

AAA Oklahoma provides these 10 tips Oklahomans might not think about to stay safe in weather Oklahoma vehicles have likely never experienced before:

1.      Always drive prepared: Take your AAA membership card with you anytime you travel – just in case. Should a breakdown occur, you will need a charged-up cell phone, and your winter emergency kit with an ice-scraper, shovel, blankets, flash light, kitty litter for traction, and your mask, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes.

2.      Positive your vehicle battery is ready?  Vehicle batteries weaken when vehicles sit idle for a period of time (like during COVID) and during sustained cold temperatures.  The combination of the two, can result in a very weak battery at a time when the highest battery power is needed to get a car started.  At 32 degrees, a battery is 35% weaker. At zero degrees, a cars battery loses 60 percent of its strength, yet engines need about twice the power to start.

3.      No Warming Trend: If your car is a 2007 or newer model, you DO NOT need to warm it up before driving. In fact, actually driving your car is the best thing to do.

4.      Don’t be a Victim: Never leave a car running with the key or key fob inside of it. Thieves can make off with a running vehicle in an instant. Also, never start a car and leave it running in a garage without adequate ventilation.

5.      De-ice is Nice: With freezing rain in the forecast, ice is a real threat to vehicles sitting out in the elements. Frozen door locks can be overcome by carefully heating the end of a key with a match or lighter. A squirt of de-icer spray is another quick method. Do not pour hot water over a frozen lock or ice-covered vehicle, as it could damage your car.

6.      Cool! Cool! Cool! Engine coolant performs a vital job when the temperature drops. It lowers the freezing point of the cooling system in winter. Failing to ensure coolant levels can handle the extremely cold temperatures could result in serious and expensive damage to the vehicle’s engine. AAA automotive experts recommend that coolant protection be at 30 below zero.

 7.    Under Pressure: AAA also recommends checking tire pressure since tires need more air when it is cold. Proper cold weather tire pressure can be found in the vehicle manual or on a sticker inside the driver’s door, not on the tire itself.

8.      Get Tanked Up: Keep a vehicle filled with at least a half of a tank of gas. A half to full tank gives a driver the ability to keep a car running for warmth if they are stranded somewhere. Gas also gives a vehicle extra weight which can help with traction in snow. It can also help avoid gas line freeze up.

9.      Guard against pick-up and SUV overconfidence: Four-wheel-drive vehicles are great for initial traction and avoiding getting stuck, but once they are moving, they have the same difficulty keeping control and stopping as other vehicles.  On ice, they are at just as much at risk of slipping and sliding as smaller non-4WD vehicles.

10.   Travel gently: Drive, turn, and brake slowly. Adjust your speed to the road conditions and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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