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Sub zero weather in forecast could impact car batteries

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OMAHA, Ne (FOX42KPTM) - Your health isn't just on the line with this weekend's sub zero forecast. The health of your car is also on the line.

That means starting your car and taking off could get a lot tougher if you haven't made the right preparations.

"We see a lot of issues like that this time of year," said Greg McCary, an auto care expert.

As a driver, McCary knows it doesn't take much for a battery to become less effective. When the temperature dips below zero, auto care experts say a battery's power gets cut in half.

"If you turn the key over and it just grunts and groans, in this kind of weather I would have the tendency to say it's most likely the battery."

Looking for signs of trouble? McCary checks for blue residue.

"That residue is actually corrosion."

That corrosion can restrict the flow of electricity through the system.

"For a lot of people, when their car doesn't start, they'll raise their hood and go, oh, I need to clean that."

Mechanics FOX 42 News spoke to Friday say there are steps you can take to limit the chance of your car's battery dying. You should make sure the battery is newer, install a battery blanket and park under a covered space when possible.

"That works just fine."

If you forget to take good care of what's underneath your car's hood, mechanics say that's a gamble. Fixing it could end up costing you more than $100.

If you have to go somewhere this weekend, the American Red Cross is also offering advice for drivers.

First, always have your gas tank at least half full in case you get stuck. Also, let your family and friends know where you are at all times and have extra warm clothing and food with you. Also, make sure you're wearing your seatbelt. Finally, if you get stuck in your car, run the engine and heater for about ten minutes an hour.

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