Does Cold Weather Affect Your Car?

February 3rd, 2017 by

When you walk to your car in the parking lot in February, there’s a familiar sting at the tip of your nose. You can’t seem to keep your hands warm and your car can’t heat up fast enough. Have you ever wondered – does cold weather affect your car in the same way?

The cold doesn’t have quite the same effect on your car as it does on your skin. That said, there’s a definite impact when the temperature begins to drop. From changes in fluidity to hardening rubber, here are a few ways cold weather affects your car.

Engine Oil Gets Thicker

Engine oil comes in different grades and viscosities for a reason. In cold weather, conventional engine oil flows at a much slower rate until it warms up. It acts much like molasses when temperatures are below zero. It’s one reason why your engine is hard to start in winter – the moving parts have to work against the increased resistance.

Use semi-synthetic or full synthetic oil year-round in your engine. It decreases wear and improves cold starts. All around, it’s just a better choice for your engine.  

Engine Coolant Could Freeze

Properly mixed, your engine coolant shouldn’t freeze. However, if too much water has been added, a freeze-up could occur when the temperature gets downright chilly. 4

Have your coolant checked before winter to ensure it’s able to withstand the coldest temperature you’ll see in your area. If you need to top up your coolant, use a premixed coolant from a new bottle, matched to the variety your car uses.

Tires Get Firm

At temperatures below 45F, all-season and summer tires are less effective. The rubber ‘freezes’ and becomes inflexible, which is why your car might slide or skid more easily.

When the temperature dips down during the winter months, use dedicated winter tires. The rubber compound contains silica and is pliable even in the coldest weather. You’ll have better traction than your all-season tires.

Suspension Feels Stiff

On cold winter days, driving down the road can feel like your car has wagon wheels. When your struts or shocks are leaking, it can sound like those wagon wheels are about to fall off too!

If your suspension is in need of repair, it can be difficult to stay in control on the road. Have your struts or shocks replaced and an alignment performed so you’re able to handle the worst conditions of the year.

If cold weather has shown its effects on your Toyota, we’re at your service. Jay Wolfe Toyota has factory-trained technicians and friendly service staff to get your vehicle back in shape.

Posted in Service