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How the Cold Affects Your Car (in Ways You Never Thought Of)

The Midwest winter cold can affect cars severely. It’s that time of year when it becomes so bitterly cold that even a 30-degree day can feel like a balmy respite. While we can leave our houses dressed in layers to stay warm and function in the freezing temperatures, our cars do not have that luxury. 

Cold weather can cause damage to all parts of the automobile over time, especially in cold weather. 

Dents and dings can come out of nowhere and from a variety of sources.

Cold weather has a handful of unexpected effects on your ride, aside from the ways that it affects your dents and dings, however. Here are some tips about what to look out for and how to manage cold weather conditions.

It’s a Salty Situation

Road salt can lose its grip in colder temperatures, so be sure to drive with extra caution when the temps fall into the negative digits. But, the salt can also cause corrosion. The more you drive your car in the winter, the more your vehicle comes into contact with road salt. 

Wash your car at least once a month, paying special attention to the undercarriage where the most salt sticks. Don’t wipe, as salt will scratch your car.

Your Tires Change

As the air in your tires gets colder, it contracts, resulting in less pressure, causing your tires to become underinflated. Be sure to check your tires more often than usual – at least once per week or more. A little deflation does not cause better tire traction, contrary to popular belief. Tire experts caution riding on tires below the manufacturers’ recommended pressure. It can cause uneven or unsafe tread wear.

Fluids Thicken

Motor oil thickens when it is cold, making it hard for the engine to turn over – especially first thing in the morning. At 20-degrees below zero, oil gets so thick that the engine’s oil pump struggles. Try switching to low-viscosity oil in the winter. 

Fluids Get Watery

The constant back and forth of warming up your car and cooling it down will cause metals and plastics to collect condensation during the winter. Condensation turns into water, which is mere steps from turning into ice. When temps drop and the ice forms, you could be in trouble. Fluids like power steering, brake, and engine transmissions do not play well with ice. Ice causes leaks in the high and low-pressure systems. You can save yourself a giant winter headache by having your fluids flushed, your car winterized, and get in the habit of warming your car up in the winter before driving.

That Darn Battery

Car batteries are extremely sensitive, and they get worse in the winter. When the temperatures drop below zero, the battery cools down, too, making it that much harder to get your car started. The best way to prevent battery issues is to buy a new battery before the winter weather strikes. Head to your local mechanic and have them check your battery capacity. If it’s over a few years old, chances are you should be replacing it anyway. Buying a new battery before winter is the cheapest way to protect yourself during the winter months since battery loss is one of the biggest winter problems for automobiles.

Wipers Don’t Wipe

Freezing temperatures can cause the rubber on your windshield wiper blades to become brittle, which means they end up tearing and cracking if not replaced with a new set. Buy some windshield wiper blades made for winter use and harsher climates. They’re made from thicker rubbers more prone to lasting in freezing temperatures.

Another problem with wipers is that they become covered in snow or ice, freezing in place. If you expect cold weather after your car has been parked, take them off or tilt them up. This way, there is no surface for them to stick or freeze to.

Not only is there the freezing issue with wiper blades, but your windshield will be more vulnerable to damage in the winter. Never pour hot water on your windshield with the hopes of melting the ice off – or unsticking your blades – quicker than your heater. This will crack your windshield. If you are in that much of a hurry, spray rubbing alcohol on there instead.

Accidents Do Happen

It’s winter. The roads are wet. They get icy. Accidents are going to happen. You hit your brakes, you slide, and you know the rest. Your great day just turned into a bad one. Don’t get overwhelmed –  let us help. 

At JM Dent Repair, we understand the frustration of a dented car – we’ve been there! We know you need your car, and we’ll work with you to get it done quickly and affordably so you can get back on the road and back to your daily routine. Contact us today to find out how paintless dent repair can save you money and keep your resale value!

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