two men in blue shirts checking engine fluid

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – With the Old Farmer’s Almanac predicting an “unseasonably cold” winter for Texas, now is the best time to prepare your vehicle.

Texas State Technical College’s Automotive Technology students have been learning proactive ways to keep vehicles operating during a cold winter. Ryan Rogers, of Mason, and Alex Soto, of Hawley, said there are several things to check under the hood before the first major freeze hits West Texas.

“One of the most important things to do is to top off your antifreeze, but not with water,” Soto said. “If you use only water, it could freeze and lock up your motor. Make sure there is antifreeze in the engine.”

Rogers said another task that motorists should undertake is to make sure the battery has enough cranking amps to start.

“That is not as important as the antifreeze level, but you do not want to be stuck somewhere in the cold with a car that will not start,” he said.

Another reservoir in the engine to check is the windshield wiper fluid. Many people use the fluid to help thaw ice, but Soto said there is a better way to accomplish an ice-free windshield.

“Use a de-icing spray,” he said. “Along with a scraper, that is the best way to thaw the windshield. Do not use hot water to thaw the ice because that could lead to cracking the windshield.”

Rogers said another trick that people sometimes use is to apply a thin coat of wax on the windshield prior to precipitation falling. With the proper amount of wax, Rogers said the ice will slide off.

“I actually tried it once, and it worked,” he said. “It is a good way to get the ice off your car if you do not have de-icer available.”

Soto said motorists should also make sure that their brake pads are in good condition.

“Bad brake pads could lead you to not being able to stop on an icy road,” he said. “That is not a good feeling to be trying to stop on a sheet of ice. A lot of accidents happen because the brake pads are in bad shape.”

The need for qualified automotive service technicians and mechanics is expected to grow in Texas over the next several years. According to, Texas employs more than 55,000 of these technicians around the state, and that number was forecast to top 61,000 by 2030. The website stated that the average annual salary for a technician in the state is $44,810.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology and an Automotive Technician certificate of completion at the Harlingen, Sweetwater and Waco campuses. Several other certificates, including Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair, Chrysler Specialization and Tesla START Technician, are also available depending on campus location.

Registration for the spring semester is underway. For more information, visit

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