How to prevent frostbite and protect your car in subzero tempera - WDRB 41 Louisville News

How to prevent frostbite and protect your car in subzero temperatures

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- These frigid sub-zero temperatures can be dangerous, so how do you protect yourself and keep your car running to avoid trouble?

"It's not anything to play around with," said ER physician Dr. Shawn McCarty.

He's seen his share of frostbite and says in most cases people were not prepared.

"Because really, if you plan for the cold and you take precautions before you go outside, there's actually really no reason why anything should happen to you," McCarty said.

In this weather he says frostbite can set in in 10-15 minutes. Your skin can turn cold and gray, have a tingling sensation, or become itchy.

"And then if not re-warmed quickly at that point you could start to have a vascular injury to the affected extremity and left to go on too long you could actually lose that part of the body," said McCarty.

Dr. McCarty says if you're outside make sure to cover everything up and take these precautions:

  • If you have a face mask - wear it.
  • Earmuffs can help, but a majority of heat is lost through your head so wear a hat.
  • A good pair of gloves is essential.
  • And wool socks will help protect your feet.

Even if you're running a quick errand, he says you should always dress in layers.

"You know they'll be somewhere away from town and run out of gas, forget to charge cell phone, their car's dead so they can't charge cell phone... and the next thing you know they have to hike five to 10 miles," said McCarty.

Car maintenance is crucial

Richard Onkst at Pep Boys in Louisville says the number one concern is to make sure all fluids are full especially gas.

"If the gas tank freezes,” said Onkst, “you're going to have to have the gas tank removed. We're going to have to de-thaw it, it could bust gas lines; there are different things it can affect."

Never pour hot water on a cold window or turn on frozen wipers. If you need a cheap de-icer Onkst suggests trying rubbing alcohol.

"A little preventive maintenance goes a long way," he said.

That maintenance could save you thousands. Take for instance a tire pressure gauge, gas line antifreeze and coolant tester. All of them are each under $3.

If you end up needing a new tire, radiator and gas tank, your bill could be more than $1,000. A $30 battery charger is a lot cheaper than a replacement that could set you back as much as $250.

Onkst also suggests covering the hood of your vehicle with a blanket or add a mechanical light to keep the engine warm.

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