Avoiding Costly Winter Mistakes

Created: 01/22/2014 11:04 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- When it comes to taking care of cars and homes, most Minnesotans think they know exactly how to handle the recent cold temperatures.

But the advice your grandpa gave you doesn't always stand the test of time.

That’s why ABC 6 called around to different auto repair shops and hardware stores on Wednesday to find out the top things people do that may actually be more harmful than helpful.

Experts at Viking Overhead Door in Austin said that especially during periods of melting and refreezing, the bottoms of garage doors can become frozen to the ground, and many people will simply continue to press the open button, hoping something will give. That strain on the system can actually damage the upper portions of the door.

Experts said to avoid problems, you should make sure the bottom of the door is clear, and keep joints lubricated and motors maintained to keep them from freezing up.

But many people don't have the luxury of a garage, and have to wake up every morning to that cold, cold car.

To combat the cold, many people will let their cars idle for 20, even 30 minutes to get them nice and warm, but experts say you should really only warm them up for five to 10 minutes, just to get the engine warm, or run the risk of draining the battery.

For those that do find their car unable to start in the mornings, experts warn against leaving the problem for later, saying people are making a mistake by simply finding another way to work.

Experts say you want to get a jump and get it charged right away, because they say a battery with no charge can actually freeze and break, and that will cost you a lot more in the long run.

And once the car is ready to go and it’s time to get the kids to school, many parents rightly bundle them up against the cold, but then leave children vulnerable once inside the car.

Experts say you need to remove a child's winter coat when buckling them into a car seat or the puffy jacket can create space between the restraints and make kids more susceptible to serious injury in the event of a violent crash.

Since you still want to keep those kids warm in the car, organizations like AAA suggest covering children with their jackets or a blanket once they're in the car seat to keep them both safe and comfortable.

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