The Extreme Cold – Do’s and Don’ts

The Extreme Cold – Do’s and Don’ts

It has been extremely cold in New England and other states and countries this year.  There are a list of some things that you can do to prevent damage to your vehicle and keep yourself safe as well.

We are having an Artic Winter this year and it’s extremely cold outside and has a drastic effect on the vehicles we drive. The newer cars have more plastic parts on them, older cars less so. 

Daino_16 from Free Images

DO:  Keep the vehicle’s fluids filled up. It helps keep the engine working properly in the cold weather. If there isn’t enough fluids in the car, the engine could freeze up and crack the block.  The engine block will get cold enough to crack and cause the fluids to leak everywhere… into the parts of the engine it doesn’t belong in or not allow the engine to work at all. 

DON’T:  Leave the fuel level below a 1/4 tank because it may cause the crap in the bottom of the tank to come up and plug up things like the fuel pump or fuel filter(s). (Some cars have more than one fuel filter.)


DO:  Make sure you have a De-icer Washer Fluid in the washer tank to help keep the icing down to a minimum.  Get one that is like -35 Degrees. I’ve found that the -20 degree stuff will freeze in the artic cold.

Juha Lakaniemi on Unsplash

DON’T:  Wash the vehicle in temperatures below 40 degrees F.  Some parts on these cars are made of plastic. Plastic in the cold weather becomes brittle. If you wash the car in HOT water, you will cause one, two or both issues to happen. One – the plastic parts will break. Two – your doors will freeze shut and you won’t be able to open them. Hot water freezes really fast in cold weather. 

DO:  Keep a can of deicer in a warm place. (Most stores carry that item.  Just get an inexpensive can of deicer, they all work regardless of price.) If your doors do freeze, at least you have a way to unfreeze them.  


Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash

DON’T:  Put your defroster on high while warming up the car, as it can cause the glass to break and possibly shatter. It’s dangerous. Let the car warm up first on say the floor setting, then you can put the defroster on low to defog the glass. 

I live in a nice area, so I can get an old blanket from the Salvation Army, Savers or Goodwill store to put over the hood of the car and tuck it into the doors, shut them tight,  to keep the engine area a little warmer.  (I have done that in the past, and the car seems to start easier. )

I hope these tips have helped you. Please drive slower in the snow, sleet, freezing rain and icy roads.  Driving fast in bad weather causes bad accidents, deaths, damage and power outages – also endangers the First Responders who have to come out into the weather to help you or others. 

Feel free to leave comments and questions below as I check back often. Thank you for visiting!

To Your Safety and Ours…


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14 responses to “The Extreme Cold – Do’s and Don’ts”

  1. Penelope says:

    I had NO IDEA that you could break the windshield when defrosting it, but it does make perfect sense. Glass does shatter in extreme temperature shifts! I also didn’t know it was dangerous to let your fuel tank get below 1/4 tank because it never occurred to me that there would be other crud floating around in there. thanks for the eye opening tips!

  2. Ronnie Jordan says:

    Thank you for the great tips. I am from Chicago where it may not get artic cold but cold enough to make your life miserable when it comes to your automobile. I always make sure I keep gas in my car. That is one of my pet peeves.

  3. Malachi Mcphail says:

    Although a man I am just now learning how to work on a car past changing the oil. Honestly didn’t know the defroster thing. I had no idea it could break the glass. Now is this just the defroster setting or heater in general?

    • If you set the setting to defrost and turn the heat all the way up, and the defroster on, then start the car in really cold weather, the glass may break going from one extreme temperature to another. Glass installers usually tell you to let the car warm up first – so the setting would be maybe for just your feet first. It’s what I do – even though I have the glass replacement on my insurance – I wouldn’t want someone to replace my glass in the extreme cold.

  4. Fred says:

    I think you have some really good information on cars. I grew up working on cars and are very used to junkyards. They were the place to go to get your parts. It looks like you cover about everything.

  5. Valerie says:

    Thanks for this helpful article. I live in Hawai’i so I don’t have to deal with any of this for now, but when I move to Chicago in a few years I’ll be glad that I stumbled upon your article. These are just things that I would never have thought about, especially about freezing your car doors shut with hot water.

  6. Great tips for winter. I live in the Northwest corner of Montana, and we get winter here! I am always aware to keep my gas tank above 1/4 full, but now I know why I do that! Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge with us!

  7. Melinda says:

    It is so cold here in Virginia. I can’t imagine being in New England! These are great reminders for car maintenance. I already knew to do them, but with cold weather upon us, it got me motivated to check! Thanks!

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