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Cold Weather Car Care Tips

We wanted to take the time to share some car care tips for the particularly cold winter weather that we are experiencing right now. You can't always see the way the freezing temperatures affects the internal operating systems of your car. Below are some of the biggest ways that the cold could potentially damage your vehicle along with some tips to help avoid these situations from happening to you.

1. Thickening fluids

In cold temperatures, your car’s fluids — oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid, etc. — become more viscous, or thicken, which causes the fluids to move less freely. If you pour maple syrup outside in the winter, it won’t move. In the summer, it will come right out. This is the same for fluids in your car. Starting the car for 10 to 15 minutes in below-freezing temperatures to warm it up will help. It’s a good idea to change your fluids before temperatures plummet, and to make sure the fluids are at the proper levels. Fluids are not thin enough in their cold state to be forced through internal seals, which can cause them to tear the seals or cause internal issues as well.

2. Dead battery

When temperatures plummet, your car’s battery works harder to start the car because its starting capacity is reduced in below-freezing weather. If the battery is three or four years old — regardless of the type of battery — consider buying a new one before winter.

3. Tire pressure

In extreme temperatures, tire pressure can fluctuate. In cold temps, tire pressure can decrease at rest and increase when the car is moving. If the tire pressure light comes on, inspect the tire!

Driving with low – or too much – tire pressure can lead to uneven wear and a shortened lifespan for the tire. It can also lead to a tire blowout on the road.

4. Leaking

When water seeps into cracks in the road, the pavement chips away and potholes can form during a constant freeze-thaw cycle. Similar damage occurs to cars. Metal and plastic will collect condensation when it constantly goes from cold to warm and back to cold again. Condensation turns to water, which turns to ice. Ice in the power steering, brake and engine transmission systems can and will cause leaks in high and low pressure systems, when the ice cannot move through the lines and orifices in all major systems. Leaks in the steering and brake system can be potentially hazardous if a malfunction occurs. It is recommended to exchange all the fluids before winter and warm your car up before driving.

5. Salty situation

Snow isn’t the only problem drivers deal with on the roads. In order to melt all of the snow, road crews use salt. Salt can stick to your car’s metal components and, if left there, can cause them to corrode, especially the undercarriage, brakes and wheel wells. Experts advise washing your car frequently during the winter months to eliminate salt, including at least once a month to the underbelly of the car. Don’t use a cloth to wipe salt away, as the salt can scratch the car's paint.

If you find your car is operating differently than normal, be safe and have it checked out before it leaves you stranded in below freezing temperatures! Automotive Aspects, LLC. is available for service calls during those emergency situations. Since we are MOBILE, we are able to come to you (at home or at work) to check out your vehicle and provide you with a FREE estimate for any concerns, maintenance items or repair recommendations. Call Kevin to schedule an appointment at 443-812-6976.

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