From little inconveniences to start your morning on the wrong foot, to larger problems that may call for more than a 5-minute-fix, we know that winter weather can cause many issues with our vehicles. When it comes to fixing or avoiding those problems, we’ve got your back with these helpful tips.
Your wipers are essential for braving the winter weather, keeping your visibility clear in rain, sleet, and snow. However, they become more vulnerable in freezing weather. They can freeze to your windshield, which my cause them to tear once you try to turn them on–that could be when you need them most.
To keep your wipers safe in cold temperatures, make sure checking up on them becomes part of your routine. If you know cold weather is coming and you can’t get your car under cover, you can raise your wipers up and away from your windshield to prevent them from freezing. You can also buy winter wiper blades which are specifically designed for winter conditions or even just check to test your wipers and clear away ice and snow before you start your drive.
Changing temperatures are infamous for causing tire pressure fluctuations. For each 10 degrees the temperature drops, your tires will drop about 1 PSI. That means a drop of 30 degrees or more could put your car’s tires under the recommended PSI, which negatively impacts the vehicle’s traction, handling, and the overall life of the tires. With how much our weather changes, especially during the winter months, it’s crucial to keep an eye on your tire pressure.
This problem could definitely put a damper on your day. Frozen locks happen when vehicles are wet during a freeze, which causes the water to ice over in your locks. To steer clear of this frustrating issue, keep a can of de-icer or hand sanitizer on hand to melt the ice. The high amounts of ice-melting ethanol and isopropanol alcohol will come in handy in melting the ice. Be careful not to force the key into the lock or try to turn it–if it becomes stuck, that could break both the lock and key.
This is true in any season–sometimes a car just won’t start. But in the winter, this could be a sign of a serious issue with the battery or spark plugs, but it could also be a smaller issue like thickened engine oil, frozen gas in the line, or a bad starter or alternator. For those smaller issues, the best thing you can do is to try and keep your vehicles warm overnight or when the temperature drops to its lowest. Keeping your car parked in a garage or using an engine block heater to keep the engine warm are both good options. Don’t worry, we’ve got tips for those more serious issues too.
Spark plugs aren’t always thought of in terms of winter preparation. However, even these spark plugs can be impacted by the dip in temperature, as your engine in general is very vulnerable in the cold. Especially if your spark plugs are older, the cold causes them to be more susceptible to corrosion, which makes it hard for them to spark and do their job to get your car started. During your normal vehicle maintenance, it’s important to check up on your spark plugs so you know you won’t get stuck with plugs that won’t spark.
A dead battery is one of the most common winter worries that drivers come across according to AAA. Drops in temperature cause the mercury in the batteries to dip as well, and the lower the mercury drops, the lower your battery’s power falls. In the cold weather, trying to start your engine takes up twice the amount of energy as it would on a normal day, so you want your battery to be as prepared as possible to take on freezing temperatures. As seasons change, we always recommend taking your car in for a tune-up. In your winter tune-up, have your battery and your engine’s starting and charging functions tested to ensure they’re up to the task of supporting you this season.
With these tips, get out ahead of the weather so you don’t get left out in the cold.