The cold temperatures affect cars negatively in many ways. The rubber compound in tires will harden when the temperature drops. This causes them to lose grip on the roads. The motor oil will also thicken when it gets colder out. This makes it harder for the engine to turn over on the first start of the day. This is further exacerbated by the fact that battery output drops by about half. It also declines gradually with age, so an older battery that is fine in warm weather might fail in the cold. Thinner oil grades, an engine block heater or battery blanket may aid cold-weather starting. Older vehicles didn’t provide cabin heat until the engine had warmed enough to open the cooling system thermostat, which often took 20 minutes or so.

With repeated short trips in cold weather, the vehicle may never warm sufficiently to burn off accumulated water vapor and you may notice sludge at the end of your dipstick. Also, your exhaust system may rust prematurely, despite low mileage. Short trips in cold weather are considered severe operation. Highway driving is much easier on a vehicle, as all fluids and systems will have warmed to operating temperature and are working at best possible efficiency given the climate.

Also remember to check the windshield and windshield wipers. In the winter they are more vulnerable to being damaged. Never use hot water to clear a frosted windshield, as it could crack. Make sure you have an ice scraper in your vehicle so you can clear the windshield and side windows effectively when you drive.

If there is ever a sign of something out of the norm with your vehicle, make sure to bring it in so we can inspect it for you. By checking the issue at the first sign, you can help save time, money, and stress in the long run.