Extreme cold weather does more harm to your car than you expect. This is something many car owners aren’t aware of or choose to ignore. It’s essential to understand how sub-zero temperatures affect your vehicle in the short, medium, and long-run. Knowing this helps you to understand how you can address many of the issues caused by cold weather. Here are some car care tips that are easy to do and won’t require much of a time investment.
1. Dead Car Battery Problems
Due to the sensitive nature of the car battery, sub-zero temperatures will cause it to cool down. This makes it a challenge to start your vehicle. The best way to avoid this issue altogether is by making sure your car’s battery gets replaced before the start of winter. While this is something you can do on your own, it’s best to seek a skilled mechanic’s expertise so that they can inspect the battery’s capacity and get additional advice. These professionals will ensure that all the connections are tight, clean, and free of any corrosion. But if a car battery does die during winter, jump-starting your car is relatively easy since all you need are jumper wires, which are simple to use.
2. Thickening Fluids
Vehicle fluids play a vital role in ensuring the engine remains in pristine condition. However, as the temperatures start to plummet during winter, their ability to flow freely is reduced. Despite most vehicle fluids such as antifreeze, transmission fluid, and oil having additives that prevent freezing, severe cold weather makes them harder to pass through the engine. As a result, this makes the car’s engine susceptible to a possible malfunction due to their delays and reduced ability to prevent damage.
Therefore, you should always inspect the fluid levels to confirm they’re at the right level.
3. Tire Pressure Fluctuation
Another effect of freezing weather is the fluctuation of your car’s tire pressure. This usually happens because sub-zero temperatures cause the air to shrink, thereby lowering the tires’ pressure. Low air pressure is dangerous because it causes your tires to wear out unevenly. It also increases the likelihood of the tires blowing out, leading to an accident.
If you wish to avoid this, the best thing to do is regularly inspect your car’s tires to confirm that the pressure is at a desirable level. Ideally, this means checking the tire pressure at least once each week, making sure they are always within the levels recommended by the manufacturer.
4. Higher Fuel Consumption
Undoubtedly one of the worst things about extreme cold weather is increased fuel consumption. This means you need to spend more running your car during winter than during the summer. And this shouldn’t come as a surprise since, during winter, your car usually has a hard time functioning properly.
One cause of this is the heater inside the vehicle using up more warmth generated by the engine, making your engine colder for a longer time. And with the engine colder, it runs less efficiently and then creates a high gas to air ratio to compensate for these cold temperatures, leading to higher fuel consumption. This increased fuel consumption is also caused by the reduced tire pressure, which causes your car to move a lot slower which uses up more fuel. Likewise, you’ll need to warm up your car for a couple of minutes each morning. All of these usually lead to increased fuel consumption by your vehicle.
5. Frozen Gas Lines
The problem of frozen gas lines is also another issue you have to grapple with during winter. This usually happens because the sub-zero temperatures cause condensation buildup, which then freezes in your car’s gas lines.
Your car’s engine becomes inoperable since the frozen gas lines hinder the free flow of gas in your car’s engine. Another sign of frozen gas lines is the vehicle’s engine turning but not being able to start and your vehicle stopping or sputtering even while you’re driving.
If you want to avoid any issue associated with frozen gas lines during winter, the best thing to do is making sure the gas tank is always at minimum half full through the winter. Doing this ensures there isn’t too much air inside the gas tank. The presence of excess air causes the freezing of air, which then clogs your car’s gas line.
6. Windscreen Damage
Sudden temperature changes cause the expansion and contraction of glass. And when this happens to your windscreen, despite their robust build, there’s a higher chance of a crack starting to form. In addition, if there are pre-existing chips on the windshield, moisture might find its way in and freeze there, leading to a widening of the crack. Make sure to inspect your vehicle’s windscreen before winter to make sure it’s in excellent condition.
7. Windscreen Wipers Malfunction
Exposure to the severe winter temperatures will no doubt expose your car’s wipers to damage. This happens due to the increased piling up of snow, ice, and slush on your windscreen that should always be first removed before turning on the wipers. If you overlook this simple step, it does destroy the wipers, which can’t fully handle the weight of the ice and snow. Moreover, sub-zero temperatures weaken the plastic that holds the fragile wipers, increasing the likelihood of breaking.
The continued warming and cooling down of your car during winter causes your vehicle’s plastic and metal parts to start collecting condensation. When this condensation gets converted into water, it leads to ice formation, which is a recipe for disaster. This is because ice leads to leaks in the low and high-pressure systems of your vehicle systems such as the brake, power steering, and engine transmission.
Leaks in the brake and steering system are hazardous if there’s a malfunction. Therefore, make sure to always go to your mechanic in preparation for winter so that all the fluids in your car can be flushed out. It would be best if you also made it a habit to warm your car each time before you start driving.
Winter presents a unique set of challenges for car owners. Therefore, you need to be alert to these challenges to prevent any malfunction, resulting in an accident or costing you lots of money in repair. If you didn’t know some of the possible issues caused by sub-zero temperatures, this detailed car care guide has enlightened you on the potential effects of cold weather.