Winter weather tips to protect you and your car from the frigid temperatures

If you have to drive, car experts said to make sure you're prepared. (WWMT/MGN Online)

People across West Michigan are dealing with bitter cold. The frigid temperatures can be dangerous not only for you, but your pets, car and home.

Many local roads, sidewalks and parking lot were covered with ice Monday morning.

If you have to drive, car experts said to make sure you're prepared.

When it comes to your car, experts say you'll want to check your coolant. battery temperature, and wiper fluid levels.

Plus, always carry a snow brush, shovel and a blanket.

The manager at Advanced Auto Parts said you should also warm up your car before you drive.

"At this temperature, oil is kind of thick, so you start a cold engine up, and you got a thing called an oil pump. It's a small thing. It's like sucking honey through a straw. And with that temperature, you want to let that oil heat up so the residual sort of breaks down, and it flows through the motor. If you just get in the vehicle and just take off, the oil pump hasn't even had the time enough to circulate the oil through the motor. And that can cause engine damage,” said Billy Snell, manager at Advanced Auto Parts.

Grand Rapids Police warn if you're going to warm up your car, don't leave it unattended.

They said the majority of the time, vehicles that are stolen have the keys in the ignition and the doors unlocked.

In air this cold, frostbite and hypothermia can set in within a matter of minutes. If you have to be outside, take frequent breaks inside and bundle up.

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