What Happens to Your Vehicle in the Winter?
Your Car Might be More Worried About the Coming Winter than You!
If you are not looking forward to the coming cold winter months, think how much worse your car must feel about the impending change in the weather. Of all four seasons, winter is undoubtedly the most stressful for your vehicle. If your car is meant to be a summer-only ride, store it with us this winter.
The Effects of Cold on Your Car
Many things in your vehicle operate less efficiently or experience increased wear when the
The rubber compounds in your tires, gaskets and door seals harden as temperatures approach freezing. That is why you should change to winter tires, which are formulated to remain flexible and provide increased traction in extreme cold.
Motor and gear oils thicken in sub-freezing weather. A cold engine turns over more slowly and requires a longer warm-up period to spread lubrication to all internal parts.
Lead-acid batteries have less output in cold weather, which also decreases with age. Since a winter engine start draws more current from your battery, you could find that it is not up to the task. Your charging system must work harder too, since it has to replace the extra battery current and support more use of the car’s headlights.
Your car’s engine preheats intake air for efficient fuel combustion. During the summer, this process takes a few minutes. A cold winter morning increases this time to 20 minutes or longer especially if the vehicle heater is on high.
Until the intake air is warm, your car burns fuel inefficiently and produces excess water vapour internally. This water reduces the life of your motor oil and exhaust system.
The same coolant fluid that prevents a summer boil over also helps your radiator system withstand sub-freezing temperatures. During the winter, it is especially important to use the correct amount of coolant in order to avoid an engine freeze up that could crack the engine block.
Road salt, sand and gravel take a tremendous toll on your car’s exterior and chassis. Fender wells and your vehicle’s grill and hood are the most susceptible to damage. Once your vehicle’s paint or undercoat is penetrated, rust gains a foothold and spreads.
The biggest risk to your vehicle during the winter is damage from a collision with another car or object. Even salted roads become treacherous below -7C as increased traction from salt lessens. Winter driving requires sharp defensive skills to avoid collisions with the cars of drivers whose winter driving skills may not be up to par.
Mitigating Winter’s Effects on Your Vehicle
Your summer vehicle will be comfortable and safe in our indoor storage, but you still have to get around in the winter. And your winter car shouldn’t be treated too much like a workhorse. Before winter’s grip is hard upon your vehicle, prepare it. During the winter, plan on some extra maintenance chores too:
- Have your battery and charging system checked by a technician to ensure it is ready for another winter season.
- Use a set of winter tires.
- Consider installing a block heater to lower stress on the battery and reduce engine warm-up time.
- Change the motor oil to a low-temperature viscosity appropriate for severe cold and driving conditions.
- Make sure you have the correct amount of antifreeze in your cooling system.
- Prepare your car’s exterior, especially the hood, with a protective clear coat. An annual undercoating is recommended too.
- Wash the car’s exterior regularly to remove salt, sand and dirt.
In addition to preparing the vehicle itself, be sure your emergency road kit is ready to go. Change the batteries in flashlights or emergency lights. Carry traction devices, a shovel, ice scraper and cat litter or sand. Properly prepared, you and your car can enjoy winter’s beauty instead of struggling against it.
Give us a call to secure your indoor classic car storage today so it can come out of the winter in the same condition it is today.