The Effects of Cold Weather on Vehicle

Many vehicle owners go through the seasons without giving more thought to the stance of their vehicles than when driving in warmer weather, when elevated concern is sometimes necessary. It is important to pay attention to your car and be proactive about repair during the winter or colder weather in general because cold weather can affect vehicles differently. Here are auto situations that compromise safety more frequently when it is cold:

  • Car accidents increase, which can translate into collision repair needs.
  • The cold weather may prompt internal issues with your vehicle, calling for increased general auto repair needs.

WHY DO REPAIR NEEDS INCREASE IN THE COLD, AND WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Car accidents happen during the winter for all sorts of reasons including road conditions, weather conditions in general such as slippery roads, darker nights and mornings, as well as rain and snow depending on where you are travelling. For this reason, it is important your car is prepared to drive especially defensively. Accidents can help be prevented through vehicle scheduled maintenance or regular tune-ups. A compromised brake system or stuck steering wheel for example can heavily influence the safety and vehicle damage aftermath of an accident.

HOW CAN AN AUTO TECHNICIAN HELP?

A mechanic can tell you if there are things to take care of before the winter hits. The roads are going to be slightly more slippery, potentially. Your brakes need to be impeccable. An engine is a system of moving parts; on top of that, so fluid levels should be correct to not compromise damage or vehicle control.

Additionally, your battery should not be compromised as the last thing a driver needs is their battery to go out while out in negative degree weather, or cold weather at all really. Tires should also be intact as balding tires could make it easier for a vehicle to spin out.

In addition to this, tires can lose about one pound of pressure for each 10-degree temperature drop, and underinflated tires can easily cause you to lose traction that could lead to a car accident, compromising safety and increasing the need for collision repairs.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO STAY SAFE?

An important thing one can do beyond having a mechanic inspect a vehicle is to actively practice safe winter driving habits.

A driver should consider taking a defensive driving course, especially if a new driver, to learn specific driving tactics and review practices such as how much space to keep between vehicles and which way to turn a wheel if faced in a collision. Education, whether a new driver or a driver who has not taken a driving course in many years, will only benefit a driver and help increase awareness.

If possible, a driver should also try to avoid traveling long distance if the conditions compromise safety too substantially.

CAR TROUBLES CAUSED BY THE TEMPERATURE DROP

It is important vehicle owners are aware of the specific repair needs that increase for vehicles more so during colder weather. For example, a little crack on a window could get worse when it is chilly.

This happens because the combination of the cold weather with a turned-on heater adds stress to a windshield. Ideally, you want to keep your car in a heated garage to prevent these kinds of issues.

Thickening fluids can also become a problem during the winter or cold weather. Colder temperatures can thicken transmission fluid, or it can cause fuel lines to freeze, potentially making it more challenging for a vehicle to start. It is recommended to keep fuel filled up to prevent this and to let a car run or warm-up for 10 minutes before driving off.

If this happens too often, a vehicle may develop leaks because of the taxing weather, potentially prompting vehicle maintenance or auto repair.

Colder weather can prompt increased auto repairs and increase the possibility of collisions, increasing the need for auto body repair. Please be especially mindful during the colder seasons. We encourage elevated precaution and repairing any general auto repairs or auto body repairs such as a compromised windshield before embarking on long drives during the colder weather.