It’s that time of the year when the weather is changing and the temperatures are dropping. If not during the day, then at least during nighttime. Regardless of where you keep your car, in the garage or on the street, you need to be aware of the negative effects it can suffer from cold weather.
As you know from your science classes, metal doesn’t like low temperatures as they cause it to shrink – and that’s never good in a vehicle. Aside from that, the metal body of your car can be damaged by the salt road crews use to melt the snow on the streets. The more you drive your car in the winter, the more the salt will stick to it – specifically to the undercarriage, wheel wells, and brakes.
What you need to do is wash your car at least once a month, paying special attention to the parts of the car previously mentioned. Do not wipe the salt down, so as not to scratch the paint on your vehicle.
2) Tire pressure fluctuation
Following the principle of how cold weather causes metal shrinkage, the same happens to the air in your tires – when the temperatures are low, your tire pressure decreases. Moreover, after you have been driving your car for a certain amount of time, and it warms up, so does the air filling the tires causing the pressure to go back up. You have to admit, constant deflating and inflating is pretty stressful for tires, which is why it is only to be expected for them to suffer some damage in the winter.
What you should do is drive the vehicle to your trusted mechanic as soon as the tire pressure light on your dashboard comes on, so that they can inspect the tire and make the necessary adjustments to the tire pressure. If you don’t do this, you can end up with a flat tire on the side of the road and that is never fun, especially in the winter.
3) Dead battery
A car’s battery is very sensitive and even more so when being affected by cold weather. When temperatures go below zero, the battery is cooled down, too, making it that much harder to start the car. There is not one reader here among you that hasn’t tried to turn their car on the morning after a freezing night – and failed miserably. Right?
Well, the quickest and safest way to prevent that is to replace your car battery before winter’s beginning. But, don’t do it on your own. Go to your mechanic and let them check its capacity and follow their advice.
4) Thickening fluids
All the fluids in your car’s system – oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid – will thicken in the winter since they, too, do not like the cold. When that happens, they will not flow as freely through the system and may cause your car to malfunction when you least expect it.
However, you can get ahead of the problem by simply topping up all the fluids before temperatures plummet. By doing that both you and your mechanic will be making sure the fluids are at their proper levels. Otherwise, you will be forced to warm up your car for at least 10 to 15 minutes before going anywhere throughout the whole winter, and who has the time for that?
5) Wiper malfunction
Since wipers are exposed to cold weather, they will undoubtedly cause you trouble in the winter. They tend to freeze to the windshield overnight and then break if you don’t clean the glass or peel the wipers off before turning them on. You can even damage the windshield itself that way if another vehicle has kicked a lot of slurry onto it, especially if it contains rock salt or something similar.
If you are expecting cold weather during the night and don’t want to deal with frozen or broken windshield wipers in the morning, take them off or tilt them up. That way they have no surface to freeze onto and you have one less headache coming your way.
Constant going back and forth between warming up and cooling down will cause the metal and plastic sections of your car to collect condensation during the winter. Once condensation turns to water, it is one step away from forming ice and that’s when you are in trouble. Vehicle systems like power steering, brake, and engine transmission do not like ice because it leads to leaks in high and low-pressure systems. Why, you ask? Because the ice cannot move through the lines and orifices in your car.
Drive to your trusted mechanic and let them flush all the fluids as part of your winter car preparation and get in the habit of warming up your car before driving. Now, you must find the time, so don’t skip it if you want to avoid malfunctions.
7) Fuel consumption
It should come as no surprise that when your car is struggling to function normally – and all cars meet that fate in the winter – your fuel costs rise. If your tire pressure is inadequate, the vehicle will move slower and thus consume more fuel. If you need to let your car idle for a few minutes every morning so that it can warm up, you are definitely going to be spending more on fuel. Almost like, whatever you do will cost you gas money.
But, if you get your car in tip-top shape before the winter comes, you will at least be able to contain the costs. Not only for fuel but for every other part of your car, as well.
So, don’t waste any time and start preparing your vehicle for the freezing cold Canadian weather. Visit our repair shops in Hamilton and Stoney Creek today and drive safely in the winter.