In the dead of Winter your car is exposed to harsh conditions: icy roads, snow, and extreme cold. From the tires to the liquids in your vehicle, many aspects of your car change as it gets colder and conditions change. Here’s a handful of ways Winter can damage your car. Be prepared, and stay safe on the roads throughout the cold season.
Thickness Changes in Car Liquids
Your window wiper fluid is ineffective, thick, and seemingly doing more harm than good. As temperatures drop, the viscosity of wiper fluid changes and because less effective the colder it gets. To avoid this, make sure you have the right washer fluid for the season. We suggest using a de-icing washer fluid for snow conditions; it’s formulated with chemicals that reduce the adherence of ice and snow on your windshield, and also contains a small amount of anti-freeze to melt snow and ice.
In addition to wiper cleaner, engine oil, antifreeze, power steering, and transmission fluids can become viscous, changing the quality and effectiveness of each.
Tire Pressure Changes
You may have noticed reduced air pressure in one, some, or all of your tires as winter approached. This is normal; oxygen molecules shrink as it gets colder, and are released through tire walls where the tire meets the rim. Check your cars’ owner’s manual for correct cold weather tire pressure to avoid unsafe driving and to increase the effectiveness of your car in snow and icy conditions.
As it gets colder, it becomes more and more difficult for car batteries to start. This is more common in older cars and older batteries (2-3 years-old). We suggest purchasing an extra battery to have on hand in case your current battery fails to start. This will save your time and money.
The Danger of Salt
Road crews use salt to break down road ice and snow. The good news: this makes driving safer and removes winter elements from the road faster. The bad news: salt acts as a corrosive to the undercarriage, wheel wells, and brakes of your car. Left long enough, salt buildup can do real damage. Getting a car wash, or washing the exterior of the undercarriage once a week will prevent damage.
Proper maintenance of your vehicle through regular services and only using quality gas and oil will help you avoid these costly repairs, which will keep your vehicle running longer. Other ways to keep repair costs low are:
- Driving slower – this will reduce the strain on your engine, plus will ensure you don’t get speeding tickets!
- Driving less – we know this one is often difficult, but if you can combine trips and avoid needless drives, you will make great strides toward protecting that engine!
- Getting your car checked regularly – this includes changing the oil, filters, general engine maintenance, and tires.
- Learning about your car – do a little research and read up on the general performance of your car. You should be aware of how long your particular car will typically last, what kind of mileage it gets, and special ticks and quirks. This can really help in preventing wear and tear.
- Having a specialist look before you buy – this one is huge. We can’t tell you how many times a customer has come in and complained that they didn’t know about a needed repair before they bought the vehicle. Before you sign that paperwork, take your potential car to a mechanic and get it checked out. It’s not terribly expensive for a general checkup, and it will save you a lot of heartache!
We all know how painful car repairs can be. No one wants to have to pay thousands of dollars just to get their car working again. So keep it updated, and take care of your vehicle! For cosmetic damages which really cannot be avoided, lucky for you, Unique Auto Body is one of the highest rated auto repair shops in Utah, and we offer free consultations. Give us a call at 801-512-0661 any time with questions, and we’ll be happy to get you back on the road in no time!