Winter is well and truly arriving – and with it those cold mornings and even colder nights. The drop in temperature and changing weather conditions can wreak havoc with your car, so be on the lookout for the following car issues in the following months.
If your car is struggling to start during the winter, it is likely that you have a problem with the battery.
It is said that a car battery will have 20-30% less cranking capacity when the temperature is at 0?, depending on the type of battery you have. This can be even more of an issue when you take into consideration the fact that the car will need to use the battery more, to power things like windscreen wipers, heating, and headlights, too.
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If the issue isn’t the battery, it is also possible that it is the result of a worn alternator belt, an overstressed starter motor, or corroded spark plugs, so make sure to double check these also.
Low tyre pressure
During the winter, tyre pressure can drop due to the change in temperature. When cold, the air molecules slow down, which causes a drop in pressure. Many brands of tyres estimate that with every 10-degree drop, you will lose 1 or 2 PSI – this equates to about 0.2 PSI per 1 degree C.
Your tyre pressure light will only illuminate when there is a 25% decrease, so it is essential to check your tyre pressure regularly for any small underinflation. As a general rule of thumb, wait until your car has been turned off for 3 hours to get the most accurate reading. This is because driving the car can warm up the air slightly, causing a natural fluctuation in tyre pressure.
Corrosion from grit
Spreading grit is an essential aspect of road safety during winter, as the rock salt lowers the temperature at which water freezes, thus reducing ice (and ice-related accidents) on the roads.
Though essential, the salt can build up underneath your vehicle. These deposits can corrode vital components of the car and its bodywork. However, grit is not just made from salt, but also contains a mix of gravel and stones. As you can imagine, these loose elements can further damage bodywork.
There are various fluids within the car that are required for it to function properly, such as engine oil, transmission fluid, engine coolant, and screen wash. Of course, during the colder months, these liquids will become denser and more viscous, if it doesn’t freeze completely.
When thickened, the fluids will work less efficiently, and might even damage the mechanics of the car. To reduce the risk, you can make sure your car is winter ready, take your motor to a MOT centre for its regular maintenance, service, or a pre-winter check, and always allow the engine to warm up for 10 minutes before setting off.
Frozen lock, door, window, or windscreen wipers
And last but not least, you might find that certain elements of your car become frozen over, such as your lock, car door, windows, and windscreen wipers. Make sure to keep a spare antifreeze and scraper that is not stored in the car itself, so you have it to hand to defrost doors that have frozen shut.