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The coming of cold should prompt motorists to check their antifreeze

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Checking something

Bobby Sullivan, auto technician at Cobb Automotive, checks out a customer’s engine as winter approaches.

It’s all about the antifreeze.

Two local veterans of auto maintenance say not keeping up with the flowing green fluid can cause havoc for vehicles during the winter.

“That probably causes the most problems I see during the winter,”  Brandon Cobb of Cobb Automotive in Oxford said.

 “You need to change the antifreeze, check the air pressure in the tires, check the tread depth on the tires and get ready for the winter,” Cobb said.

He said checking on the antifreeze is what people tend to think less about.

“You need to check the freezing point of the antifreeze and a lot of people don’t do that,” Cobb said.  “A lot of people just let it go, and then when they have a problem that’s usually the reason why. Definitely.”

The list of those problems includes busted hoses and heater cores.

He added cold weather also lowers the tires’ air pressure, which also needs to be checked.

Ryan Johnson, service manager for Superior Hyuandi of Anniston, agrees.

“There is a test that can be run on antifreeze, and that will tell you whether a full change is necessary,” he said noting when coolant is serviced it is bled back into the system. “How often it’s changed really depends on what type you use and the vehicle you drive.”

“That gets all of the air out of it and makes the heat work better,” Johnson said.

“Having that low air pressure can wear on tire treads, so it is one of the things that needs to be monitored,” Johnson said.

Oil changes are not dictated by changes in temperature the way antifreeze is.

“Because it gets cold doesn’t mean you need an oil change,” Cobb said. “If somebody does their oil change religiously, it should be fine.”

Johnson added car owners should make sure their window washing fluid contains alcohol.

“It doesn’t do any good if you are just making more frost for your windshield and you don’t want it to freeze and bust other stuff,” he said. “There is nothing worse than having an iced-over windshield and you can’t spray it.”

“In general, it’s just a lot of little things in the wintertime,” Johnson said.