WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 05, 2010, 09:50 AM

Stopping your car from freezing up

(WDAY TV) - The last thing you want when it gets this cold outside is to be stranded. Sub zero temperatures can make your car unreliable, but there are some things you can do to minimize the risk.

By: Kelsey Soby, WDAY

Auto experts say if you can't put your car in a garage, the best thing you can do is install a block heater or a magnetic block heater which you just stick to something metal on the underside of your car, like the oil pan.

It keeps the oil warmer than the air, so the motor can turn smoother and faster when you try and start it up. Another big factor is your battery. Kim Sandvik of Supreme Auto Body says older batteries can freeze up and can't hold charge as well.

He says even if you have an old car, having newer battery can make all the difference on a cold morning. Sandvik says there is one other free way to help make sure your car starts after a bitterly cold night. That's to start it up every few hours and let it run for 10 to 15 minutes.

It costs about 150 dollars to install a block heater and about 125 dollars for a magnetic heater, which you attach yourself. Sandvik advises against using heaters or electrical blankets to keep cars warm. He says it's too much of a fire hazard.