The cold temperature, the salt on the road, and the challenging weather conditions of winter mean your car needs to be maintained more meticulously than during other seasons. During the winter, your car suffers from extreme conditions more often. The holiday season doesn’t help either because, most of the time, you end up using the car more frequently than normal.
Even the most experienced car owner can still suffer from car issues during the winter. Fortunately, most of the car issues you normally face stem are caused by a lack of maintenance and incorrect maintenance practices. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at the most common car maintenance issues during the winter and how you can avoid facing similar issues.
Dead Car Battery
It’s a cold morning and you have to run a quick errand or go to the shops. You turn the key and try to start the car and all you get is, well, nothing. The car doesn’t budge at all and the battery is out of power. What happened? The car worked perfectly yesterday, so why is it out of power all of a sudden?
There are several reasons why your car battery stops working on a cold winter day. The lower temperature alone isn’t ideal for car batteries, especially older batteries with wet cells. Switching to maintenance-free car batteries help eliminate the majority of the problem; you can pick up car batteries at a reasonable price from retailers such as Hardwarexpress.
Other things that may cause your car’s battery to drain at a much faster rate are a short-circuit due to a high moisture level, ice build-up, corrosion on the terminals, and the weather. The best way to get around these issues is by maintaining the car’s battery more rigorously during the winter. You can, for example, use petroleum jelly to protect the terminals from rust caused by a high level of moisture.
Your Car Won’t Start
A dead battery isn’t the only reason why a car will not start on a cold winter day. We’ve established that the cold temperature means the car would need much more electricity to start and run; you may have to rely on a jump start in certain occasions.
However, cold temperatures are also bad for the engine. Problems such as thicker oil viscosity due to the temperature and muck build-up in certain parts of the engine can cause the car to stop working entirely. It is best to wait until the car is slightly warmer before trying to start the engine.
If you plan to use your car frequently in the winter, it is best to invest in a block heater. You can use the heater to warm the engine overnight and you’ll have no problem at all starting the car in the morning.
Another way to avoid problems in the winter is by using dielectric grease. It works the same way petroleum jelly works in protecting your battery terminals; the grease blocks any moisture and rust build-up while keeping sensitive engine components protected.
Frozen Fuel Line
Due to extreme temperatures, your fuel line may be clogged by a build-up of ice and cold fuel. Unless the car is maintained properly, a clogged fuel line could easily lead to bigger, more serious car problems that are harder to fix.
That said, preventing frozen fuel line is actually very easy. You can start by keeping the fuel tank full at the end of the day or when you want to store the car for a longer period of time. A full tank leaves no space for gas to form, plus it will help keep the water-to-fuel ratio at a safe level.
Every fuel tank has water in it, albeit at different ratios. If you’re not sure if your tank is safe enough for winter, use a fuel stabilizer or an antifreeze agent to help prevent the fuel line from freezing in the winter. An additive will also help make starting your car in the morning a lot easier to do.
Last but certainly not least, take the necessary steps to prevent tyre issues during the winter. Again, the cold temperature is your biggest enemy. Tyres filled with air can lose substantial pressure overnight when they are in contact with a cold surface. The weight of the car can then ruin your tyres when there isn’t enough pressure to maintain their form.
A quick switch to nitrogen is a great solution to consider. Nitrogen is much more consistent than air, so you won’t have to worry about losing a lot of tyre pressure overnight. It is also important to check the tyre pressure regularly and to keep the tyre pressure at the recommended level before you store your car for a long period.
While these maintenance issues are very common, they are also very easy to solve. You just have to take some extra steps to prevent damage to your car due to bad winter maintenance and weather challenges.