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Four ways cold weather affects your vehicle.

Danielle Williams December 20, 2016
Close-up of car on the street covered by icy rain.
Winter is a tough time for everyone. Some days it’s too cold to go outside, traffic is at a standstill when a snow storm hits and not to mention the damage it does to your car.

The cold winter months affect your car in so many ways. And instead of moving down south to avoid Old Man Winter, you should learn what the freezing temperature does to your car and what you can do to protect it.

1. Tire pressure

The cold air takes a toll on your tire pressure and may cause your tire to under-inflate. Under-inflated tires are unsafe and can lead to tire failure, tread separation and blowouts putting yourself and others in danger while driving. You always want to drive safely, so make sure you check your tire pressure monthly for vehicle efficiency.

Tip: The tire pressure levels can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker on the driver’s side door jamb.
Close-up of hand examining air pressure in tire.

2. Battery

Nothing is worse than going to start your car and the battery is dead. During the winter months, batteries have a hard time dealing with the freezing temperatures because it loses one-third of its power. And if the temperature is below zero, the battery only has half of its power making it harder to start. You should test your battery before the temperature drops, but if you don’t no worries. You can use a block heater to help warm your engine. Also you should try to park you car in a garage as much as possible on freezing nights.

Tip: If you’re a CAA Member and have battery trouble this winter, our mobile Battery Service is here to test, replace and recycle old batteries.
Close-up of battery symbol on car dash.

3. Fluids

As the temperature drops, your car fluids thicken, like oil. In the winter your car’s fuel consumption is a lot higher as parts move more slowly and require more energy and fluid. To make sure your car moves and is in the best shape check all your fluids regularly like oil, windshield washer fluid, anti-freeze, and brake and transmissions fluids.
Close-up filling car oil under hood.

4. Windshield and wipers

While driving in the winter you should treat your windshield and wiper blades with care. Before you turn on your windshield wipers, make sure the windshield is cleaned properly and clear of excess snow, ice and salt. If not cleaned properly the debris and ice on your windshield can easily tear and damage wiper blades.

Tip: To clean your windshields do not use hot water because it can crack the glass. Instead you can use vinegar and water to help prevent an icy window.
Close-up scraping ice off windshield.

Need more safety advice? 

The CAA Auto Advice team provides Members with free automotive advice. If you have questions about car care, auto repairs, vehicle inspection, and more, contact us by phone at: 1-866-464-6448 or email: autoadvice@caasco.ca


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