BOISE – With Idaho drivers still in the grip of extremely cold and icy conditions this week, AAA offers these tips to fight the freeze:
- Take care of your windshield. Fill your car’s windshield washer reservoir with a winter fluid that has de-icing properties, and replace wiper blades that are skipping or streaking. Never use hot water to de-ice your glass – thermal shock could cause cracks and lead to an expensive repair bill. For the same reason, don’t tap on the glass to break up ice. The best way to remove ice is by starting the engine, setting the heater to defrost, adjusting the airflow to recirculate, and moving the temperature control to full heat. Use a plastic ice scraper to speed up the process.
- Manage your fuel. AAA recommends keeping your gas tank at least half full in freezing conditions. This reduces condensation in the fuel system and ensures you have adequate reserves to run the engine for heat in an emergency. If you drive a diesel vehicle, consider using a cold weather fuel additive to prevent the formation of wax crystals that can plug the fuel system. Keep in mind that the vehicle must be driven for a short time to circulate the additive throughout the fuel system.
- Never leave a vehicle running unattended or in an enclosed garage.
“If sheltered parking isn’t an option, covering your windshield can save you some headaches. Auto parts stores sell windshield covers that use magnets or elastic straps that loop around the side-view mirrors to hold them in place, but a tarp, large towel, or old sheet that is held down by the windshield wipers will usually do the trick,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “Of course, after you’ve de-iced your car, please remember that the roads will still be very slick. Double or triple your normal following distance, and give yourself plenty of time to stop or safely complete a turn. Try to change lanes as little as possible, because ice tends to stick around in-between the travel lanes where cars aren’t warming the road surface.”