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Woman in car with front hood open, calling for help

Cold weather is bad for your car. Learn what you can do to help keep get your car started and staying running.

During the winter months, especially those extra cold minus 20 days, your car is going to need a little extra love. Just like it may be tough for you to get out of your warm bed in the morning, your car might need some extra coaxing as well to get going. That is why it is important to be prepared for those extra cold days by following these simple suggestions.

1. Shut Off All Accessories

Even if you are just running into the mall for 30 minutes or so, shut off everything. This includes the heater blower, radio and lights. This will help to maximize your starting power when the time comes to get back in your car and go.

2. Plug In Your Car or Turn it on Once A Day

If you do not have the luxury of a heated garage or simply no garage at all see if your car has the ability to be plugged in. If not, maybe consider investing in a block heater, which is an electrical box designed to warm the engine block. Lots of public parking areas and residential lots will have outdoor outlets. Don’t see one? simply ask your property manager. If plugging in is not an option or you are staying in for the day or weekend, bundle up and head outside to start your car for a minute or two. The longer the car sits in the cold without being turned on, the more difficult it will be to get it started when you need it.

3. Car Won’t Start? Turn the Key and Hold it For 10 -20 Seconds

This should help to get your engine going. Do not hold the key in for more than 20 seconds, and wait a few minutes in between tries, or you may run the risk of overworking the starter. If after three tries your car still won’t start, it is probably time to call CAA (1-800-222-4357).

4. Check The Owner’s Manual

Almost all cars will have cold-starting instructions in their manual. All cars are different and it is important to refer to this when needed. If you misplaced your manual, call the dealership and see if you can get another.

5. Boosting Your Car

It is always important to have your own set of jumper cables, but hooking up the cables to the appropriate terminals can be tricky for some. If you don’t know how to do this, it is important to get help from someone that does. All cars are different and you should avoid relying solely on the internet for instructions. If your car has required more than 2 – 3 boosts over the course of one winter season, it is likely you will have to get your battery replaced.