If you live in Houston, you know that you might need a jacket and shorts on the same day. Drastic changes in temperature can wreak havoc on your vehicle too, not just your allergies. January and February are the coldest months of the year, you should know how to winterize your car to protect it through March.
The average low temperature can get down to around 41 degrees. Granted, we have a much milder winter than our friends to the north in places like New York and Maine, where the lows can bring about icy frost and snow. On rare occasions, we experience snow flurries and according to the current weather forecast we might be in for a snowy treat on New Year’s Eve.
So, what does this mean for your car?
Without proper winter maintenance like safe anti-freeze levels, tire pressure, and many other factors you might end up on the side of the road with a non-functioning car. Should this happen to you, just call My Transmission Experts. We are your professional and affordable car care service with locations all around the Houston and surrounding areas. The simple fact is that your car is more likely to have issues in colder weather. Keep this in mind, as well, if you are taking your car on a cold road trip up north this holiday season. Let’s look at 6 ways cold weather can wreak havoc on your car this year and what you can do to make your vehicle last longer.
Cold Weather Problem #1: The Car Battery Could Freeze and Die
It doesn’t have to be below freezing for your battery to suffer. This can occur in temps as low as 32 degrees, which can happen especially at night in Houston during January or February. In really cold weather, the battery has to work harder to start up your car. It loses an estimated 35 percent of the power it has in colder environments.
The best way to combat and prevent this problem is to replace an older battery that is at least four-years-old. A newer battery is going to have an easier time fighting off the cold. Another tip is to keep your car in an enclosed garage space if you have that option during the winter months.
Cold Weather Problem #2: Less Pressure in the Tires
When the weather dips down into chilly numbers, this can cause your tires to contract and lose pressure. They will deflate enough to make it more likely that you’ll slip on icy roads or have other handing problems. You could also be at risk of wearing out the tires faster when there is uneven pressure. That’s an issue because your tires just won’t last as long.
During winter make sure you have the tire pressure checked to keep the air inflated at the right levels in your tires. Air pressure is measured by PSI (pounds per square inch). Even a 10-degree drop in the temperatures can make the PSI go down by 1, when on average, most car’s tire pressure should read at a PSI of 30-35.
Cold Weather Problem #3: A Frozen Transmission That Slips
Being in intensely cold weather can create a serious problem in your transmission. Transmissions are what we mainly deal with at My Transmission Experts. In the cold, the transmission system could potentially freeze up causing the transmission to “slip.” When you are driving your car, you may hear some odd noises and sounds coming from inside the engine. It can also feel like your gears are changing in a weird way.
You definitely don’t want to wait to bring it into us if you are seeing or hearing some of these signs. Getting your transmission serviced by us, in something as basic as changing the transmission fluids or flushing it, will make the whole car operate much better. Plus, regular maintenance of your transmission could save you from a total failure that needs a more extensive rebuild.
Another tip is to make sure you are regularly starting your car in cold weather, even if you aren’t going to be driving it. Crank it up for a few minutes and drive the car around the block at least to help prevent the transmission from freezing up.
Cold Weather Problem #4: Thicker Fluids
Cold weather can make all the fluids in the car become a lot thicker. That includes your fuel line, oil levels, transmission, and antifreeze. The way to fight this problem is to make sure those levels are where they should be. Get your oil changed regularly and have all the fluid levels checked to make sure they aren’t getting low.
Cold Weather Problem #5: Salt Corroding the Undercarriage
Salt corroding the undercarriage of your car is a problem. This is pretty much only going to happen if you are in a place where road crews of salt trucks are routinely salting the streets to melt the ice and snow. This probably will be more of an issue when you are traveling into colder places, but you’ll want to make sure to wash your car regularly to get those destructive salt particles off of your car.
Don’t try to wipe off the salt with a towel. The salt can even scratch-up your paint job.
Cold Weather Problem #6: Icy Locks
Ever try to open up your car, and you can’t get the lock to work? That’s a frustrating feeling. The problem is that when the car is wet with temperatures that dip, the locks have water that is frozen inside.
Keep a can of de-icer in your home to use on those locks, which you can purchase at any auto parts store. In a pinch, another product you can use is hand sanitizer. It contains alcohol and ethanol that will melt the ice.