Every year, around this time, there are car troubles unique to winter and cold weather. While hopefully you don’t experience these problems, it’s helpful to be aware of them and the common causes.
1. Low Tire Pressure
This problem usually starts showing up in the fall because colder weather will reduce the air pressure inside your tires. Low tire pressure will affect the life of your tires, increase stopping distance and impact fuel efficiency. If a light on your dash indicates low tire pressure, it’s easy to correct and may even prevent an accident.
2. Foggy Windows
If you’ve been putting off repairing your AC compressor, you may notice that your windows will not defrost. Your car uses the AC compressor to dry the air, and it is this dry air that actually pulls the moisture off the windows. An interesting fact: Warm air will remove the fog faster than cold, but colder air will better normalize the temperature of windows and prevent future fog. Also, turning off the recirculated air setting will help defrost windows faster since the air outside is typically dryer than the moist air inside your car.
3. No Heat
If you notice your vehicle’s heater not getting or staying hot, it’s an indicator of a problem. You may be running low on coolant, but there may be other serious conditions related to it. You may have a coolant leak since cold weather will cause gaskets to fail, or you may have the wrong antifreeze/water mix. The coolant can freeze if you’ve been adding water to the cooling system and not coolant. Another possible cause is a broken thermostat, which will prevent the coolant system from reaching the correct temperature to actually begin heating.
4. Dead Battery
Cold weather is a common cause for batteries failing, but generally it’s warm weather that does the damage. The effects of intense heat on a battery don’t usually show up until the weather turns cold. High temperatures cause the internal parts of a battery to wear faster than cold weather, but warm temperatures make it easier for a car to start. A cold engine is harder to start because of increased friction. This increased friction requires more power from the battery, and if the battery is already worn from high summer heat, it will fail in the winter.
By Deidre Parker, contributing writer and owner-operator of Chloe’s Auto Repair in Woodstock, GA.