Over the course of a typical winter, the elements can take a toll on your car. With temperatures in and around Milwaukee expected to hit lows of 3 degrees this winter, you’ll want to pay close attention for these potential problems with your car.
Your battery is at risk of dying.
If your car gets extremely cold, the battery could freeze. Luckily, it must get extremely cold before that happens. Some experts suggest as cold as negative 76 degrees. That said, even at 32 degrees, your battery can start having problems. Your best bet is to keep your battery connections clean and free of corrosion, and if you’re ever stuck in the house because there’s snow outside, or it’s extremely cold, you might want to go out and start your car and idle it for a minute or two or and take it out for a brief drive around the neighborhood.
Frozen fuel lines.
The fuel lines that lead to the fuel tank can freeze. But a fuel tank that is at least half full will protect you from that (and help your transmission). Condensation forms in the empty part of your gas tank, which is fine during the warmer months, but when your car is extremely cold, the condensation can freeze, the fuel lines ice up, and suddenly you can’t start your car.
Yes, oil can get thick when it’s cold outside. If the temperature falls to 20 below zero, at that point the oil is so soupy and syrupy that the engine’s oil pump may have trouble circulating it. If you live in a colder climate, you may want to use an oil that can better withstand winter elements. For instance, you may want to switch from 10W-30 to 5W-30.
As your tires get colder, the air inside your tires contract, and there’s less pressure. If you’re driving on ice with tires that aren’t full of air, you may find that you’re sliding in your car more than steering it. You’ll want to check your tire pressure during or after an intense cold stretch.
Snow isn’t the only problem drivers deal with on the roads. In order to melt all of the snow, road crews use salt. Salt can stick to your car’s metal components and, if left there, can cause them to corrode, especially the undercarriage, brakes and wheel wells. Experts advise washing your car frequently during the winter months to eliminate salt, including at least once a month to the underbelly of the car.
If your car is out in the elements, your transmission system can freeze, and eventually, the transmission can slip. It can take a while for that to occur and certain things need to happen, like line fluid leaking from the seals. But if you see anything leaking, or your transmission seems to be slipping, you should get it checked out. Starting your car occasionally in cold weather won’t only help your battery but can help prevent a transmission from freezing as well.
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