How Severe Cold Challenges Your Car and What to Do about It

February 22, 2021 - 4 minutes read

It’s that time of year when it is so bitterly freezing that even a 30-degree day in Milwaukee can feel warm. Temperatures plummet into the single digits, wind chills are painful and dangerous. It’s cold outside.

Here are some great examples of how the severe cold can affect cars and trucks and learn about any possible solutions.

Challenge: Deflated Tires

As the air in your tires gets colder, it contracts and has less pressure. Tires correspondingly become underinflated.

Solution: Check your tire pressure more often than you normally would, even once a week. You might think a little deflation provides better traction, but tire experts caution against running tires below manufacturers’ recommended pressure, as that can cause uneven or unsafe tread wear. Getting winter tires is always a good idea in states with inclement weather.

Challenge: Dead Battery

Winter is especially hard on batteries. If your car won’t start in the extreme cold, one of the most likely problems is that the battery is dead.

Solution: The good news is that it can be an easy fix: jumper cables are not hard to use. But to avoid a dead battery altogether, you should keep its connections clean, tight, and free of corrosion. It also recommends replacing batteries that are more than three years old. Those in the coldest climates may want to purchase a battery warmer, available at most auto parts stores or online. The warmers typically cost between $30 and $70.

Challenge: Ice in the Fuel Line

Unless you live somewhere where the temperature gets down to 100 degrees below zero, the gasoline in your car will not freeze. However, water moisture in the gas lines can become icy.

Solution: Keep the tank at least half full.

Challenge: Lethargic Screens

If your car has liquid crystal display (LCD) screens, such as for infotainment, you may notice that they become a bit sluggish when the car has been sitting in extreme cold. That’s because, just like the engine’s oil and the battery’s electrolyte, molecules in liquid crystals slow down when the temperatures drop.

Solution: In vehicles where this is an issue, there is not much you can do beyond waiting for the car to warm up. Installing an engine-block heater will help speed things along.

Challenge: Windshield Wiping Woes

Sub-freezing temperatures can cause the rubber on windshield wiper blades to become brittle, which means it could tear or crack. Also, some washer fluid may not work as well in colder months.

Solution: Consider buying winter wiper blades made for harsher climates, but you could also just make sure the ones you have are not too old and worn. It is recommended to replace them every six months, but surely few people are that zealous with their windshield wiper blades.

Challenge: Windshield Frozen on the Inside

If your car’s defrost function isn’t working properly, that can be a serious safety issue.

Solution: Make sure all defrosting and general heating functions in your vehicle are in working order.

If you are dealing with a winter car accident, let us help! Call Jacobson, Schrinsky & Houck in Milwaukee today at (414) 223-4444 to have one of our caring lawyers come out to meet you. Get car accident help today. There is no fee until we win.

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