Cold causes car complications

Posted at 8:32 PM, Jan 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-16 01:12:51-05

SALT LAKE CITY-- These extremely cold temperatures are taking a toll on drivers as their cars are stalling and breaking down. 

Melanie Rhineer said she let her Volvo sit for a couple of days in the cold, and when it wouldn't start she had it checked and was told she had bad gasoline.

Rhineer isn't sure what grade of gasoline she bought, but it was low octane gas.

Dan Moore, manager at Brody's American Car Care, offered an explanation.

“There could be water particles inside the fuel, and that`s what is freezing up,” he said.

Rhineer said the issue took several days and several hundred dollars to resolve.

“Out of pocket it was several days, two tows and about $300 in repairs, and that doesn't count what we paid to fill the gas tank,” she said.

Mechanic Sean Oborn said this is definitely the time of year when premium fuel is worth the few extra dollars it costs. 

Better gas burns hotter, so mechanics at Brody`s American Car Care recommend 88 octane and higher so your gas line is less likely to freeze. What they’re finding is that the cold is bringing the cars – lots of them.

“This has been the busiest January I've had in the 11 years I've been here,” Oborn said.

He said he's been seeing frozen fuel lines, dead batteries and cracked radiators.

Next time you change your oil, mechanics recommend getting your entire car checked. 

And if you have to leave your car out in this weather, Oborn said you should start the car at least once a day.

"If you leave your car sitting out for more than a day, you should at least get out and start it because cars that have sat for two or three weeks, they just won`t start, your battery is dead,” Oborn said.