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Car parts that are more likely to break in the winter

Helpful tips from Don’s Pro Tech Automotive

 

December 4, 2021

Car parts that are more likely to break in the winter can cause frustrating issues on cold, snowy mornings. Or worse, they could leave you stranded. If you live where it gets cold, then now is the time to prepare so you can be ready if those parts and systems fail.

Battery failure

Of the car parts that are more likely to break in the winter, your car battery is at the top of the list. It’s a good idea to have your battery tested to ensure that it’s still operable and to replace it if there are signs of trouble. You can also help prevent your battery from failing during cold weather by parking your car in a garage when you can.

Tire pressure problems

Tires are another area of concern when temperatures drop. If you think back to your high school science classes, you’ll likely recall how most matter expands when it’s heated and contracts when it’s cooled. This includes the air in your tires.

The first cold morning of the year might cause the low tire pressure warning light to illuminate on your dashboard. It’s not safe to drive with an under-inflated tire, so be sure to air up as needed. Even if the light doesn’t come on, check your tire pressure periodically throughout the winter just to be sure.

Having low tire pressure means you need to add air to your tires to avoid handling issues, premature wear, poor gas mileage and more. However, it doesn’t mean you should add air beyond the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Overinflated tires have their own set of problems. Overinflating your tires can cause a bulge in the center of the tread that leads to premature and uneven wear. It can also make the tires more susceptible to damage from potholes or curbs. If your tires are overinflated, you’ll likely end up needing to replace them more often, and new tires aren’t cheap. And, because an overinflated tire already has reduced traction due to its smaller contact patch, the likelihood of uneven or excessive tread wear increases significantly in the winter.

Frozen wiper blades

When your windshield ices over, it can lock up your wipers. If you turn them on when they’re stuck, they could tear themselves free and damage the blade in the process, or, worse yet, burn out the windshield wiper motor. Avoid this damage by checking whether your wipers can move freely before you drive away. Consider buying winter wiper blades designed to hold up to the rigors of winter weather. Finally, if you’re expecting winter weather, use the hinge on the wiper arm to lift the blades up off the glass, preventing them from getting frozen in place.

Broken door handles

Every year, countless people grab their car’s door handle only to have it snap off in their hand. Snow, ice and just plain cold all make plastics and metals brittle, leading to unexpected breaks. This is especially true if your whole door is frozen shut and you’re yanking on that handle for all it’s worth. Never fear — you can get a replacement door handle so you won’t have to crawl in through the passenger side all winter.

Thickened fluids

The cold weather also makes the fluids in your car thicken, which means they won’t lubricate as well when you first start your engine. Warming up your car for a bit before you get moving can help ensure that critical liquids, such as oil, power steering fluid and brake fluid, are flowing smoothly. Be sure to have your fluid levels checked at the start of the winter season too, and have them topped off as needed.

Corrosion

The salt that makes the snow and ice on the road melt is harsh on your car’s metal parts. It accelerates corrosion, which you might not even be able to see, especially if it’s happening to the undercarriage. Wash your car regularly to get rid of salt buildup, and pay the extra few dollars for the undercarriage wash to avoid costly repairs later and extend the overall life of the vehicle.

Car parts that are more likely to break in the winter can be frustrating, but regular maintenance and careful attention can prevent issues with these components before they arise.

Have all of your cold weather issues maintained and/or diagnosed by one of the knowledgeable mechanics at Don’s Pro Technology Auto Repair. To make an appointment or chat with one of the service advisors or technicians, visit the shop at 230 E. Tehachapi Blvd. or call (661) 822-1600.

 
 

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