How Winter Can Affect Your Vehicle

09 Apr 2021

Our harsh winters affect our vehicles in a variety of negative ways and many of these ways can cause issues with safety or even starting your car.

Your tires are affected when the temperature drops below 7 Celsius. The rubber compound in all-season tires starts to harden and lose grip when the temperature drops. The best way to avoid this is to purchase winter tires for your vehicle.

The motor oil in your vehicle will start to thicken when it is cold. Once the temperatures drop to the -18 Celsius range it can become increasingly difficult to start your vehicle as at this temperature your batteries output has dropped as well. Using synthetic oil can help prevent this from happening, plugging in your vehicle (block heater) or using a battery blanket can help with starting your vehicle in cold weather.

Your engine will be delayed in warming up due to the use of the heater inside your vehicle. While newer vehicles are able to provide heat inside the vehicle almost instantly, this causes the vehicle’s engine to take longer to heat up.

Short trips can be a drain on your vehicle during cold weather. Since the vehicle needs quite a bit more time to warm up in the winter, short trips to the store or dropping off the kids can cause problems with your vehicle. Your vehicle may never warm up enough to burn off accumulated water vapor and you may notice sludge at the end of your dipstick.

The last thing to note is that road salt starts to lose its efficiency below -7 Celsius and is almost completely ineffective below -12 Celsius, so be sure to drive with extra caution in the extreme cold.

Matt Schottroff is the Marketing Coordinator for The Standard Insurance Brokers Ltd. and the host of the Passionate People video series. He lives and works in Kenora, Ontario.

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