Prepare home, vehicle for cool weather

By Katrina Goforth -

While the cooler weather might not have homeowners turning up the heat or stoking flames in their fireplace, the chill in the air hints at colder temperatures to come. Before the temperature drops in the 40s and 50s, there are a few maintenance steps that can prevent costly damages to homes and vehicles.

The Oklahoma Department of Motor Vehicles suggests checking a vehicle’s coolant levels before the temperature drops. Maintaining the correct antifreeze-to-water mixtures is an important step to prevent fluid from freezing in the radiator.

Whether the vehicle is seen by a mechanic on a regular basis or its owner is tasked with its maintenance, oil and wiper fluid are also fluids the DMV suggests checking in the fall. Some mechanics recommend switching to a thinner oil and freeze-resistant wiper fluid.

The air pressure and condition of a vehicle’s tires are also important as cooler temperatures bring rainfall. According to the DMV, low air pressure and worn tires reduce traction and make driving on wet, slick roads a dangerous task. Checking tire pressure and tread can be done in a matter of minutes by the owner or a mechanic.

Regardless of the precautions taken to prevent vehicle damages, fluid types and levels and tire that are not up to the standards specified in the vehicle’s owners manuals can cause damage as well.

The DMV also suggests keeping a safety kit in each vehicle all year. Items they include are:flashlight;


bag of kitty litter or sand;

ice scraper and brush;

small shovel, road flares, jack, lug wrench;

first-aid kit;

a safe and leak-proof container of coolant; and

blanket, leather gloves and hat.

While it can be tempting to turn up the heat at home, the U.S. Department of Energy offers tips on saving energy without setting the thermostat to a higher temperature.

South-facing windows can offer natural heating during those sunny, cool days, and a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet sealed tightly on the inside of window frames and insulating drapes or shades can keep the cool wind from sneaking past cracks between the window frame and siding. Sealing those cracks and leaks with caulk or weatherstripping can also help decrease energy costs.

These steps along with a temperature schedule can help save heating costs. The Dept. of Energy suggests setting the thermostat as low as is comfortable during the day. When at home or sleeping, adjust it up 10 to 15 degrees to save around 10 percent on heating and cooling bills.

By Katrina Goforth

Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.

Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.

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