Dealing with ice and snow on your commute is a pain, but many winter car problems can pose more serious threats to your vehicle. A season of freezing temperatures can really wreak havoc on your car. From frozen fuel lines to road salt damage, winter is tough on your vehicle. Thankfully, there are easy ways to avoid the most common types of winter car problems during the winter months. Read on for the five most common winter car problems—and how you can help prevent them.
One of the most common winter car problems is trouble with your vehicle’s battery. Once temperatures drop below the freezing point, your car’s battery has to work even harder when starting the engine. Plus, it is also having to power more systems, like your heater and defroster, increasing the risk of it going bad faster.
The best way to prevent this is to make sure your battery is in good shape before the cold arrives. Proper car battery maintenance will not only help ensure your car starts, but it will also help you avoid a host of other car problems that are associated with dead or dying car batteries.
Have your battery tested on a regular basis. I usually have mine tested each time I go for an oil change.
Also, if your battery is older than 3 or 4 years, consider replacing it with a new one. A new battery is a quick and easy way to help ensure your car will start even in sub-freezing temperatures.
Last, but not least, if possible, keep your car or truck in a garage during the winter months.
Tire Pressure Problems
During the winter months, it’s normal for tire pressure to drop. In fact, most tires lose one pound per square inch (psi) for every 10 degrees F of temperature drop. Under-inflated tires do not perform well in icy weather. It also leads to irregular and faster wear and tear, and can even lead to a blowout.
To prevent this, it is crucial that you check your tire pressure on a regular basis throughout the winter season – and all other seasons, too.
Another option is to switch to nitrogen filled tires. Nitrogen is much more consistent than air, so you won’t have to worry about losing a lot of tire pressure overnight.
Frozen Fuel Line
During winter condensation can form on the inside of your gas tank if it gets low on fuel. When temperatures drop, this condensation freezes and can lead to clogged fuel lines preventing fuel from reaching the engine. A clogged fuel line could easily lead to bigger, more serious car p roblems that are harder to fix.
Luckily there’s an easy solution. Start by keeping the fuel tank full as a full tank leaves no space for condensation to form.
You can also use a fuel stabilizer or an antifreeze agent to help prevent the fuel line from freezing in the winter. Adding an additive will also help make starting your car in the morning a lot easier to do.
Again, if you can park in a garage, this will help, too.
Frozen Windshield Wipers
Freezing temps, snow and ice can do a lot of harm to your windshield wipers, too. It can cause them to freeze to the windshield or even become cracked.
There are a few things you can do to keep your wipers in good health. First of all, clear the windshield of ice, snow or frost with an ice scraper before using them. Trying to use your wipers on a heavy, snow-filled and icey window can easily break them or even damage the motor that runs them.
To prevent the blades from freezing to the window, soak a paper towel with some rubbing alcohol and wipe each blade down. You could also slide a pair of old socks over them in the evening. If it snows, this will keep them from getting too icy.
Another option is to simply prop the wipers up so they don’t lay flat on the windshield.
While road salt can help melt ice and make driving easier, it can also stick to your car’s metal components. If it’s left there, it can cause corrosion.
Prevent this by washing your vehicle with a high pressure wash on a regular basis to protect the undercarriage, brakes and wheel wells. In addition, adding a coat of polymer wax can help create a barrier against salt, grime, snow, sleet and more.
Cold weather can cause a lot of unwanted problems in your car that may not be visible until it’s too late and your car won’t run. Fortunately, most winter car problems take time to happen, which makes regular, proper maintenance the best prevention.
Before winter takes its icy hold, bring your car to your local mechanic or dealership service center like the one at Reedman Toll of Jenkintown for preventative maintenance.