Taking it slow, even before hitting the road

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Turning the key is not to be immediately followed by turning the wheel when temperatures aren’t even breaking zero during the afternoon.

“Give your car plenty of time to adequately warm up before you travel out there,” says Chief Dep. Brian Mueller with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office. “Make sure it’s warm on the inside, make sure all of your fluids are warmed up and it’s good to go before you get on the road.”

Cold CarHow long does it take for the heart of your vehicle to adequately warm up?

“Prime the fuel pump 10 seconds and then I crank it. If it doesn’t start, then I wait 10 seconds and then I turn my key back on and go again,” Kallen Lawler at Belly Brothers Auto Tech says.

Once it’s on, he recommends waiting 10 minutes before driving. It’s also important to keep an eye on the car’s vital fluids in the cold.

“If your coolant isn’t up to snuff, you could freeze your block and then you basically just have a big slushy inside your engine, so that’s not good,” Lawler adds. 

Before you leave, officials recommend making sure you have enough food, water and clothing in case you or a neighbor gets stuck.

“I think it’s always good to throw a little bit of extra gear in your car in case you come across somebody that’s had some type of problems and they don’t have the adequate gear. Throw in an extra set of hats, gloves and a coat in your car is always a good idea,” Chief Deputy Mueller says.

He also advises that it’s hard to run into car trouble on the road if you’re cozied up at home instead.

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