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Five Hidden Ways Winter May Have Damaged Your Car

Deidre Plotnick January 19, 2024
Woman buffing car with shammy cloth.

When spring rolls around, most car owners know to check the air in their tires, change their oil and windshield fluids and see if their windshield wipers survived winter. Canadian winters can really take a toll on your vehicle. While many of the after-effects of winter on your car are obvious, some damage may not be as visible. Here are five hidden ways winter may have damaged your car and how to check for it.

1. Give your car’s undercarriage the once-over.

Salt, potholes and snowbanks can wreak havoc beneath your car. Mufflers can loosen, bumpers can crack and salt can cause rust on the metal parts of your brakes. First, wash winter off your car. Next, head to a technician you trust to hoist your car up and assess any damage beneath. Not sure where to go? CAA-Approved Auto Repair Services makes things easy.

Mechanic checking beneath car on hoist.

2. Check that winter didn’t drain your car battery.

Your car may be starting, but is it working at optimum levels? If you notice dimming dashboard lights, your radio isn’t turning on, or a battery warning on the dashboard, it’s time for a battery assessment. CAA Mobile Battery Service1 conveniently comes to you. Plus, if you need a new battery, they can replace it on the spot. If you’re not a CAA Member, it pays to join because you’ll save $25 on a new CAA Premium Battery.

CAA mobile battery technician changing tire in driveway.

3. Check the plastic car parts for cracks.

Many of today’s car bumpers, mirror casings, headlights and taillights are made of heavy-duty plastic. While plastic is sturdy, it is becoming apparent that many plastic car parts are cracking in the face of the great Canadian winter. Whenever you can, park your vehicle indoors to avoid extreme temperature changes. Once spring arrives, examine your car – like you’d check a rental car – for any damage.

Man looking closely at red car door.

4. Check that the weatherstripping is performing.

Your car’s weatherstripping is designed to keep water and noise out. In extreme temperatures though, that rubber can stiffen, crack and let moisture in around windows, doors, sunroof and trunk. If road noise sounds too loud, there’s water around the window or door edges or if your car doesn’t seem to stay warm for very long, your weather stripping may have gotten damaged. Bring your car into a repair facility you can trust. If left unattended, you may be dealing with mold and rust next.

Technician checking weatherstripping on car door.

5. Have your winter tire treads worn down?

While winter tires are definitely recommended, potholes and snowbanks can wear treads down. To measure winter tire wear, put a Canadian quarter in one of the grooves, with the caribou facing down. If the tip of its nose is visible, you may need new winter tires. Be sure to swap to summer tires once the weather is consistently above 7 degrees Celsius because warm temperatures can burn off the treads and ruin your tires. If you’re a CAA Member, call CAA Mobile Tire Change service to change your tires right in your driveway.

Technician showing mature man tire tread.

Surveying for winter damage is one way to care for your car. Making sure you have proper auto insurance is another. To check that you have the right coverage and if you could be saving money on your insurance, ask CAA Insurance for a complimentary auto insurance policy review. If you have a safe driving history, CAA Auto Insurance2 can help save you money. Plus, CAA Members enjoy up to 20%3 savings on top of that. To get started, visit caasco.com/HelloSpring or call 1-855-241-1831.