Cold conditions: ensure your car is properly cared for

By Vanessa Ybarra
December 16, 2016 - 5:14am

KAMLOOPS — It's a good time to be a tow truck driver. 

With daytime highs still struggling to get above -13 in Kamloops, Don's Auto Towing says business is better than ever.

"Anytime you get to -10 or lower, it gets crazy," said Mike Pearen, Manager at Don's Auto Towing.

Towing staff say they've received an average 90 calls a day in the last week, almost half of their calls for dead batteries, with drivers working 12 hours-a-day to keep up with demand.

We're pretty much a two, two-and-a-half hour wait," said Pearen. "You call first thing in the morning and we've got calls stacked up from 5:30 a.m. in the morning."

While B.C's current cold snap may be hard to control, there are preventative measures drivers can take to avoid a stall or spin out this winter.

"We recommend winter tires," said Al Mulford, Service Manager at Zimmer Wheaton Buick GMC. "In minus -7 degrees,they come on. The tire rubber is completely different in a winter tire than a summer tire."

Zimmer Wheaton staff say with tire pressure decreasing faster in colder temperatures, it's imperative drivers check their tires once a month. 

Other tips include ensuring your coolant level is at correct levels.

"Top it whenever your coolant level starts to get low," said Kyle Prehara, Maintenance Technician for Zimmer Wheaton Buick GMC. "Say it's -20 level and it's a -25 night, your coolant could freeze and could cause problems with your car."

Finally, testing your car battery at least twice a year and plugging your car into a block heater when the weather dips below zero is imperative.

"Most new vehicles, the block heater chord has thermistor in it," said Mulford. "It won't come on unless the temperature goes below -18 degrees, helps you save energy and go green."

As for tow truck drivers, their jam-packed schedule is one they don't expect to go away anytime soon. 

"People just don't understand that Winter happens every year," said Pearen. "Everybody's in that much more of a hurry, every year it's getting worse and worse."

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