Depending on where you live, temperatures normally drop below freezing in the fall, winter, and spring. These freezing temperatures can keep you indoors, but if your car has to stay parked outside, it can be susceptible to cold weather issues. Make sure to prepare your car for winter.
How Can Freezing Temperatures Affect My Car?
There are many ways that freezing temperatures can cause wear and tear on your vehicle. These issues range from easy to fix things like tires losing pressure faster to more serious issues like your fuel lines freezing. Luckily, we have all the tips you need for how to prevent or fix these problems.
Prevent Low-Tire Pressure
The lower the temperature gets, the more the air in your tires contracts, causing the tire pressure to drop. Your tire pressure may increase after driving enough for it to warm back up, but it isn't completely safe in the meantime.
Make a habit of checking your tire pressure once a week during the winter and topping off the pressure if needed. You'll avoid the annoying TPMS warnings and drive safer during any winter driving conditions.
Dodge a Dead Battery
While the cold weather technically doesn't drain your battery, it slows down its chemical reactions, reducing its power by as much as half. The draining starts in the summer due to extreme heat that causes the electrolytes in the battery to evaporate, which affects winter performance.
To prevent this, have your battery tested before winter to see if you need a new one. In areas that see extreme winter temperatures, try out a battery or engine block warmer. Always carry jumper cables or a battery jumper pack with you in the winter.
Avoid Frozen Fuel Lines
Gas in your car won't freeze, but the moisture that gets in your gas tank and gas lines can. If any of this moisture freezes, the ice can cause a blockage that prevents the engine from getting fuel.
Make sure to keep your gas tank at least half full in the winter to limit potentially freezing moisture.
Don't Let Fluids Thicken or Freeze
All of the fluids in your car have the potential to freeze or thicken if they are not properly rated for the correct temperature. Engine oil and transmission fluid can thicken, causing performance issues or engine malfunction. If you use water as a wiper fluid replacement in warm weather, it will definitely freeze in the winter.
To prevent this, top off all of your fluids with the properly rated types for cold weather.
Don't Damage Your Wiper Blades
Using wiper blades on windows that haven't been properly defrosted first causes them to wear out even faster. This is due to the ice and snow causing micro-tears on the blade.
Avoid wearing out your wipers by running your defrosters and using an ice scraper to clear as much ice and snow as possible before turning them on.
Stop Salt Damage
While salt isn't used on the roads in all parts of the country, those states that do use it see an increase in vehicle corrosion. The salt reacts with the metal on any parts of the car it touches, causing it to eventually corrode. The most vulnerable parts of the car are the undercarriage, wheel wells, and brake and fuel lines.
The only way to mitigate this damage is to spray down your car multiple times during the winter, making sure to pay attention to these specific areas.
Drive Safely All Winter Long
When your car is adequately prepared for the winter, you won't have to worry about anything except the road conditions. Sign up for a defensive driving class on Aceable.com to learn additional defensive driving classes that will keep you safe all winter long.