It’s going to be another cold winter in Michigan, and we at King Brothers Collision think it’s important that you understand just what that entails for your car. Our cars are our lifeline when the weather gets really dicey. Getting stranded at home and out of reach of emergency services is something we all want to avoid if temperatures drop below zero and we need help right away. The winter chill isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be hard on your vehicle, as anything made of metal doesn’t like cold. If you’re not careful, the cold could lead to car damage. Let’s take a look at how colder temperatures can affect your car—and what you can do about it.
Thickened, sluggish fluids
In cold temperatures, your car’s fluids, whether oil, antifreeze, transmission, or brake fluid, become more viscous. This thickening of liquids can cause them to move less freely, like trying to pour molasses. At about 20 degrees below zero, engine oil can become so thick that an engine’s oil pump will struggle to even pick it up and circulate it. Switching to a low-viscosity oil can help alleviate this somewhat. For the other fluids, warming up your car by driving it gently for 15 minutes or so to help the engine reach the proper operating temperature works a treat—go easy on the gas and only drive normally when everything seems to be in proper shape.
Cracked or torn windshield wipers
Sub-zero temperatures can cause the rubber used on windshield wiper blades to become brittle. When you start using them, they can tear and crack due to the increased weight of the snow they have to wipe off your windshield, or simply because of the friction. One option is to buy winter wiper blades for harsher climates—alternatively, check your wipers before you start driving and ensure that they aren’t showing signs of brittleness. Trust me, this is one problem you don’t want to discover when the snow starts piling up on your car!
Frost on the inside of the windshield
Speaking of windshields, this annoying problem can happen when your car’s defrosting functions aren’t working problem. It’s a big safety issue since it affects visibility even when it isn’t snowing—and you definitely don’t want to be sticking your head out the side window just to be able to see. Your breath itself can condense and freeze on the inside of the windshield as you drive without a defrost function. Your best bet is to bring your car in for regular maintenance so that you never have to encounter this problem—and if you do encounter it, bring it in for repair right away.
Car not starting at all
If your car won’t start in extremely cold conditions, one of the most likely problems is a dead battery. Winter is especially hard on batteries as they require specific conditions and a balance of chemicals to function. The good news is that this is a relatively easy fix—a pair of jumper cables and another car are all you need. But to avoid a dead battery altogether, you should keep the battery connections clean and free of corrosion. If you have to, you can even purchase a battery warmer for relatively cheap. If your battery is more than three years old, it may be a good idea to replace it entirely before the cold really sets in.
When driving out in the cold, we should always prioritize our and other motorists and pedestrians’ safety. If you have any doubts about your car’s condition this winter, it’s a good idea to bring it in for a tune-up before the worst can happen. We at King Brothers Collision take pride in being able to find whatever vehicular problems you may encounter from cracked windshields, oil changes, or exterior paint detailing. Whatever that may be, give us a call at 13-534-8090 (Redford) or 734-744-8557 (Livonia). You can also fill out our online contact form and we’ll get back to you at a more convenient time.