How Severe Cold Effects Your Car – 10 Problems & Solutions

How Severe Cold Effects Your Car - 10 Problems & Solutions
How Severe Cold Effects Your Car – 10 Problems & Solutions

At this time of year, even a day with a temperature of 30 degrees might feel like a lovely relief from the brutal cold. Single-digit temperatures are common, and wind chills may be severe and hazardous. The weather is chilly. Here is How Severe Cold Effects Your Car – 10 Problems & Solutions.

Alaska is among the coldest states in the US. James Grant, who runs Right Choice Automotive Repair in Fairbanks, has experienced firsthand some of the damage that shallow temperatures can cause to automobiles. To learn how the cold may harm automobiles and trucks and to learn about potential remedies, we spoke with Grant and the Car Care Council. 

Problem: You Drive an EV 

Although operating the EV isn’t the issue, cold weather impacts an EV’s effectiveness and performance. The battery chemistry is slowed by low temperatures, which leaves less energy available for acceleration. Extra energy is required to keep the cabin (and you) warm and maintain the battery at a practical working temperature. This contributes to less effective performance, so your range might not be as great as you believe. If you don’t want to wind up strolling in the cold, it is something you should consider. Compared to a test we conducted in almost perfect conditions in 2017, we drove a Chevy Bolt EV in cold weather in 2018. Efficiency fell by 19 percent as a result. 

Problem: Deflated Tires 

As it becomes colder, the air in your tires compresses and loses pressure. In response, tire inflation depletes. 

Solution: Perform more frequent tire pressure checks than usual. The Car Care Council advises performing this once every week. Although you might believe that slightly under inflated tires will improve grip, tire experts advise against doing so since it might lead to uneven or dangerous tread deterioration. Getting winter tires is usually a brilliant idea in places with bad weather. 

Problem: Dead Battery 

Batteries suffer significantly during the winter. A dead battery is the most frequent cause of your automobile not starting in the bitter weather. 

The good thing about it is that it can be simple to remedy because jumper wires are simple to use. The Car Care Council advises keeping the connections clean, tight, and corrosion-free to prevent a dead battery. Additionally, it advises that batteries older than three years be replaced. A battery warmer, readily accessible at most car parts stores or online, may be helpful for those who live in the coldest climes. Typically, the warmers cost $30 to $70. 

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Problem: Thick Oil 

Oil thickens as it becomes more relaxed. According to Grant, oil becomes so thick around -20 degrees below zero that the engine’s oil pump finds it difficult even to take it up and circulate it. It’s like trying to pour molasses; the viscosity goes far up. 

The Car Care Council suggests using low-viscosity oil during the winter. Grant said, “Synthetic oils will be quite helpful.” Remember to check your owner’s handbook because the manufacturer could recommend a certain oil weight for use in cold climates. When the temperature drops below -40 degrees Fahrenheit, synthetic materials may still start up and flow more effectively. 

Problem: Ice in the Fuel Line 

The fuel in your automobile won’t freeze unless you live somewhere where it drops below zero by 100 degrees. Water moisture in the gas pipes, however, can freeze. Grant said: “In terms of gasoline, we observe that if there is any water inside the fuel tank, that water may freeze and impede fuel pickup. 

According to the Car Care Council, the tank should always be at least half filled. 

Problem: Lethargic Screens – How Severe Cold Effects Your Car

If your automobile includes LCD panels, such as those used for infotainment, you might find that they become a little slow after being parked in frigid temperatures. This is because liquid crystal molecules slow down as temperatures drop, like the molecules in battery electrolytes and motor oil. 

Solution: Other than waiting for the car to warm up, there isn’t much you can do in cars where this is a problem. An engine-block heater installation will hasten the process. 

Problem: Windshield Wiping Woes

The rubber on windshield wiper blades can become brittle in below-freezing conditions, which increases the likelihood that it will rip or shatter. In colder months, specific washer fluid might not perform as effectively. 

Solution: According to the Car Care Council, you may think about purchasing winter wiper blades designed for grittier conditions, but you could also check to see whether the ones you already own are not too rusted-out and worn out. Although the council advises doing it every six months, I doubt many individuals are so conscientious about their windshield wipers. 

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Problem: Windshield Frozen on the Inside 

Having a malfunctioning defrost system in your automobile may be pretty dangerous. Without a defrost feature, Grant warned, “your breath may collect and freeze on the inside of the glass while you drive.” 

Solution: Check that your car’s general heating and defrosting systems are operating well. 

Problem: Antifreeze Not doing its work

If your engine coolant, also known as antifreeze, is outdated or has the wrong coolant-to-water ratio, it won’t be as efficient at shielding your engine from the outdoors. 

The Car Care Council advises against using pure antifreeze since its freezing point is higher when combined with water. Having engine coolant designed for colder regions is a brilliant idea. Grant suggested using a refractometer to verify your coolant’s freezing point if you want to avoid going to the technician. He advised that most modern cars have extended-life coolant that can tolerate the cold, but it should still be checked. The Car Care Council recommends flushing and refilling your car’s coolant system at least every two years. 

Problem: “Snow Snakes” 

According to Grant, the phrase describes older serpentine belts that become so cold that they either break due to wear and temperature or are so chilly that they are brittle. The issue is particularly prevalent with older, more fragile belts. 

Make sure your belts are in a good state, Grant said as a solution. 

The Automobile Care Council advises having your car or truck inspected before the winter sets in so you may prevent the aforementioned issues in advance. Still, it may be a little late to provide this advice this year. Executive director Rich White notes that vehicles require particular care when temperatures dip below zero. “It’s a simple yet necessary expenditure to avoid the annoyance and unexpected and potentially deadly expense of a breakdown in freezing weather,” says the manufacturer. “Consumers may complete an inspection and require maintenance themselves or go to a repair shop.” 

Conclusion – How Severe Cold Effects Your Car

We trust that you now have a better grasp of how the cold affects your automobile and how to prevent this from affecting your car’s ability to drive. Stay tuned to Auto Tech Portal for more automobile-related content.  

Also checkout 6 Car Maintenance Tips for Winter – Simple Car Care.

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