Preventing damage to your car in the winter can be extremely difficult. Harsh winter weather conditions and what is used to treat roads can adversely affect many components of your car. The good news is, by taking a few extra steps, you can help extend the life of your vehicle.
How Winter Can Damage Your Car
Here are a few ways winter causes damage and how you can prevent them.
1. Salt Can Cause Rust and Corrosion
When roads are treated with salt, cars run over the crystals, leading to corrosion of the undercarriage. While this is bad enough, advancements in road treatment that have created safer driving conditions also have a downside.
Brine solutions, which are a salt and water mixture applied to icy roads, do a better job of melting snow and ice. But because the solution covers more area than rock salt, corrosion can creep into more components of a car.
While you can't avoid driving over salt or brine completely, you can inhibit the corrosion that happens on a vehicle. Try using an anti-corrosion coating on your vehicle to limit the effects. Frequently washing your car can also go a long way to prevent winter damage.
2. Cold Air Can Underinflate Your Tires
The cold winter months are not very friendly on your car's tires. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, for every 10 degrees that temperature drops, tires pressure can decrease by one pound per square inch (PSI). Low tire pressure can lead to less traction as well as degraded performance. In addition, underinflated tires can lead to many different problems with your vehicle.
Make it a habit to check your tire's pressure, and keep them inflated to the manufacturer's recommended PSI level. Also, if your car does not have an automatic tire pressure system, consider purchasing a portable tire gauge for easy spot-checking.
3. Frigid Temperatures Can Drain Your Battery
Perpetually low temperatures can drain your car's battery. In cold weather, batteries use extra energy to keep your car going. During extreme temperatures, things like blasting the heat, playing music, and even using your infotainment system can increase the drain on your battery.
Many different solutions can help curb the effects of the cold weather on your car's battery. Battery warmers or blankets can help insulate the battery from the elements. For a simpler solution, you can also park your car in an environment where it is less exposed, such as a garage or a covered shelter.
4. Ice Can Form in Your Fuel Lines
The residual moisture that can build in your car's fuel lines can turn into ice quickly in cold temperatures. While the fuel inside your car will not freeze under normal freezing conditions, there is a way to prevent ice from building up in your car's fuel lines. According to FEMA, one easy way to prevent this is from happening is to keep your fuel tank at least half full during the winter.
Plow Through the Winter With These Tips
Following these useful tips can help you prevent winter damage to your car. In addition, taking a defensive driving course can help you prepare for many winter driving situations. Knowing how to handle different driving scenarios defensively can help prevent many winter weather-related accidents. Sign up for an I Drive Safely class today!