Mechanics, Auto Parts Shops Extra Busy Because Drivers Don't Think Ahead

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — This is the kind of cold that routinely sucks half the power from a car battery.

As CBS2’s Lou Young reported Friday in Westchester County, if your battery is already less than top notch that could be a problem.

“The cold weather makes everything work terribly,” New Rochelle resident Joe Gugliemo said.

On days like these, the aging battery you’ve had under the hood ends up joining the other dead soldiers on the floor of a place like Jack’s Auto in Larchmont.

The owner of an auto parts shop in New Rochelle told Young he had sold 15 batteries before 11 a.m. Friday, plus plenty of cold weather products like diesel fuel additives, windshield deicer and so-called “dry gas.”

“This prevents the cars, the fuel lines from freezing up,” said Chris Maria of Napa Auto Parts.

But a product like that would not be necessary if your car has been prepped properly. Nick Pagani owns nothing but vintage automobiles that he rents to movies and television shows. He said a full tank of gas and up-to-date maintenance make all the difference. One car Young saw had not been started in a month, but it turned right over.

“That’s a 45-year-old car in zero degree weather. It’s got a good battery and it’s tuned up,” Pagani said.

As a rule, normally, when it’s cold out you don’t need to warm up your car, but you may have noticed the cold that has hit the Tri-State Area recently has not been normal. Everything is frozen solid. So, Young learned, when starting a car in weather like this give the oil a chance to circulate before you start driving around.

“You really want the oil to get where it needs to go,” Pagani said.

That’s because, as many find out, impatience can be expensive.

“In this weather when it’s zero degrees you definitely have to warm up the engine,” said Jay Gsinaj of Celestino’s Auto Service, adding one of his clients “didn’t do that and now he’s going to pay $2,000 for a new engine.”

And you thought your day was bad.

Cold weather can also play havoc with tire pressure, but mechanics warn that if your car’s tire pressure light goes on suddenly in this weather, you may only need to re-set it after you begin driving. Young reported.

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