Common Cold Weather Car Problems

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If you live in an area that doesn’t experience cold temperatures frequently, you’ve probably been caught off guard by car troubles during a trip up north. Cars don’t have a way to keep their interior warm during cold weather. Because of this, metals in the car shrink when exposed to low temperatures. Hopefully you’re at a friend or relative’s house when car troubles strike, but there are ways to protect your car from damage. Read through to find out all the ways your car may be affected while facing freezing temperatures, along with some tips to prevent car troubles in the first place.

Dead Battery
This is by far the most common problem that car owners experience during a freeze. Batteries that worked fine a week ago are now unable to even get the lights on. When your car is exposed to freezing weather, the battery is forced to work extra hard in order to turn the engine over. During the winter you’re more likely to use heating AC and high beam headlights due to fog or snow. These systems work the battery and reduce its longevity at an accelerated pace. If your battery is more than four years old and you live in an area with cold winters, we recommend replacing the battery before facing freezing temperatures on a daily basis.

Low Tire Pressure
Cold weather can cause the air in your tires to condense, lowering the overall tire pressure. Make sure to watch out for a low tire pressure warning on your dashboard as the winter months progress. Low tire pressure can decrease the longevity of your tires and cause a blowout on the road. Blowouts combined with icy road conditions are especially dangerous.

Fuel Lines Freeze Over
This is one of the most serious and expensive issues you may face in the winter months. Condensation naturally forms in our gas tanks, and at an accelerated rate when your fuel tank is close to empty. Combine this condensation with freezing temperatures, and your fuel lines could freeze over, preventing fuel from reaching the engine. We recommend running on E as little as possible during winter.

Decreased Viscosity
Transmission fluid, oil, and antifreeze are all liable to thicken and experience decreased viscosity during colder temperatures. This means they will move less efficiently through your vehicle. In order to avoid thickened fluids, you can start your car and leave it running for 10 minutes before taking it out of park. If transmission fluid or oil are relatively old, you can change out fluids before winter. This way, you enter the cold season with fresh car fluids.

Frozen Wiper Blades or Windshield
It doesn’t take much condensation to freeze over a windshield or wiper blade during the night. Make sure to remove ice with a slow, constant heat from the car’s heating system or a blowdryer. Throwing a bucket of hot water on the windshield will almost certainly cause it to crack.

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