Notice any problems with your car after last week’s arctic blast? No surprise. The cold weather really can take its toll.
Your Battery Can Die in Colder Weather. Have it tested. This will prevent going out to your car and finding a dead battery. Keeping vehicles in a garage is one definite way to ensure they will start in subzero conditions. However, if you don't have access to a garage, it's important to check the health of your vehicle's battery before the cold arrives. A typical battery can last an average of about three years and usually can handle the cold. Extreme cold pulls voltage from a battery, making it harder for your car to start. A typical battery is most comfortable between 30 and 90 F, so anything below that lower end will give you trouble.
Fluids Thicken During Dropping Temperatures. Check all your fluids. This includes oil, antifreeze, power steering, brake and transmission fluids. When it gets cold, fluids thicken and that will make it harder for your car to get the fluids it need to run properly. Transmission is a big one. That fluid in particular needs to flow quickly, and your car won't function if it flows at a slow pace.
Cold Air Will Take a Toll on Your Tire Pressure. Most tires lose 1 pound per square inch for every 10 degrees of temperature drop. So, checking inflation as the air gets colder is critical. A new winter tire is obviously best for winter use, but in deep snow even a half-worn winter tire gives the performance of a new all-season tire. A half-worn all season tire gives the performance of a summer tire, and summer tires should never be used on winter roads.
Your Wipers and Washer Solvent Will Fail. Make sure to clean the windshield of your car before turning on your wipers. A lot of wiper problems come from windshields not being cleared first and then being turned on. Blades get torn and wiper transmissions break because extreme weather can overpower the freezing point of the washer fluid. They are just rubber and pressure from snow, ice and slush will break them. That's why you see people with their wipers tilted up when a snow storm is coming. It's also a good idea to set the heater and fan controls on defrost and high before you turn the car off at night. This reduces the chance of breaking switches and knobs in extremely low temperatures.
Spark Plug Reliability Weakens During Winter. A bad spark plug, ignition component or clogged filter may cause your vehicle not to start. As temperatures get colder, you'll have a hard start so a bad plug or wires will affect reliability. Be sure yours are in top shape come the winter months.