Amid extreme cold, mechanic has bad news for drivers: ‘A lot of (cars) probably aren’t going to start’

MILWAUKEE -- The bitter cold can be killer when it comes to your vehicle. The best place for it is in a garage, but not everyone has that option.

More than 24 hours after the snow stopped falling Monday, Jan. 28, Morgan Knigee was finally trying to move her car on Tuesday -- and found quite the predicament.

"Yeah, it's pretty bad. I haven't left since Sunday," said Knigee.

A FOX6 News crew gave her a push, and soon, there was another concern. Maren Hawkins didn't want to take her car out, fearing the cold.

"Yeah, it's awful. Really awful. It's over 10 years old, so I am worried it won't start," said Hawkins.

She didn't know it, but she was following the advice of mechanics.

"That's the best thing you can do, is just stay off the roads. This is great for business, not so great for cars," said Christian Bilgo, an automotive technician with Riverside Automotive.

Christian Bilgo

Bilgo offered some bad news for drivers.

"A lot of them probably aren't going to start," said Bilgo.

The arctic air can freeze car batteries. Bilgo said to give yours a fighting chance, it's best to keep your vehicle out of the wind, and if it starts, don't drive immediately.

"It can lead to a flooding issue if you just keep short tripping it and not letting the car warm up properly," said Bilgo.

Another very important step to take is to make sure you have enough gas in your vehicle -- at least half a tank. But that makes no difference if your vehicle won't start. Bilgo warned it's hard to predict how batteries would perform in wind chills in the -50s below zero.

"Even batteries that start normally in cold weather, sometimes in the extreme cold weather -- they won't start," said Bilgo.

If your vehicle doesn't start in the bitter cold, the battery should come back to life when the temperatures warm.

A wind chill warning was issued for all of southeast Wisconsin from Tuesday evening through noon on Thursday, Jan. 31. The FOX6 Weather Experts said we could see the coldest air in decades -- with wind chills potentially dropping to the -50s at times.

CLICK HERE for the latest FOX6 Forecast.

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