Five Ways the Winter Season Can Damage Your Car

The winter brings joy and merriment to many thanks to the wonderful holiday season. Spending time with family, having a day off from work, and reveling in the cheer of the season.

But winter time also brings some stressful times. Buying gifts and traveling over the holidays often cause folks more headaches than joy. The snow and the cold weather can have an impact on a myriad of things, including our bodies, our homes, and even our cars.

In fact, the winter time is indeed the worst time to be the owner or operator of any motor vehicle. In this post, we’ll list five ways the winter season can damage your car, and what you can do to mitigate it.

1. Salt

In preparation for an incoming snow storm or to prevent ice build up, road salt is laid down on top of roads, sidewalks, parking lots, and other surfaces. Fortunately we can thank our local municipalities for putting down salt that greatly reduces car accidents.

On the downside, road salt is not good for vehicles. Road salt by nature is designed to lower the freezing point of water, leaving potential ice as just a slushy mess. While not a perfect solution, this prevents ice from forming in the first place, which is far easier to handle than salting already-frozen roads.

The reason salt is is bad for cars is due to the same principles. When driving on winter roads, the salt can splash up onto the body of a car and get stuck in the undercarriage and in the tires. The buildup causes parts of the car to react negatively with moisture and can lead to decay of metals and other materials on your car.

So make sure to wash your car more frequently during the winter, and try brushing off any excess salt on your car after a particularly salty drive.

2. Freezing Tempuratures

You don’t need to be any kind of brilliant to know how unpleasant freezing temperatures are. Why else would people move to Florida?

For your car, these low degrees can cause a number of issues that all revolve around water freezing.

If it just rained or snowed, there is likely some water leftover on your car. While it’s not a huge deal to have water on or in your car, freezing water will lead to issues.

When water gets into parts like your engine, power steering, or transmission, the cold weather can cause this moisture to freeze. The guts of your car become weaker anytime something is frozen to it by nature of the changing chemical composition. As a result, these parts could malfunction or even break.

While you won’t be able to keep your car dry all day, you can take steps to prevent potential freezing. If you have a garage to safely store your car then great. For everyone else, it will help to get a cover for your car just to keep unwanted moisture at bay.

3. Tires

As previously mentioned, road salt and freezing temperatures can have a negative impact on the body of your car. But changing degrees can also have an impact on your tires.

As the temperature gets colder outside, the air pressure in your tires can change dramatically. When not in motion, the air pressure can decrease, and vise versa when the car is moving. This sudden fluctuation can wear down your tires and even cause them to burst or break over time.

As a precaution, always check your tire pressure before driving out into the cold. Make sure the pressure isn’t too high or too low to avoid any problems in the lower temperatures.

4. Fluids

Your car, while mostly made of solid metals and plastics, contains a number of different fluids needed to operate. Some of these include your car’s oil, gasoline, antifreeze, transmission fluid, and more.

As the weather gets colder, these fluids in your car become more viscous which means their consistency gets much thicker.

The problem with this is that thicker fluids do not allow the car to operate as it’s supposed to. They will not flow through your pipes properly and can cause parts of the car to malfunction. And no one wants a breakdown in cold weather.

Always make sure to check your fluid levels before driving out into the cold and replace fluids in a warmer setting so you know your level readings are accurate.

5. Battery

We’ve all been in the car when the ignition won’t quite turn over due to a bad battery. All it needs is a jump start from a friend and the car’s good to go, right?

Well not exactly in the winter time. When it starts to get cold, car batteries have to work harder to get your car to start. If your battery is slightly old or worn, then it’s possible the cold is keeping your battery from starting your car.

Instead of getting stuck in the cold with a dead battery, consider checking to see if your car battery is still in good shape. Testers can be used to see how effective the battery still is, and if it’s been in use for a few years then it’s probably time for a new one.