How Winter Weather Affects Your Vehicle - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Dec 27, 2019

How Winter Weather Affects Your Vehicle


Paying Attention to These Five Components Can Keep Your Car Running Smoothly All Winter Long!

New York State is known for its harsh winters; a season full of biting winds, ice and –plenty of snow. While winter weather reminds us of the necessary home maintenance, we can’t forget about how winter weather also affects our vehicles.

While winter weather can affect your vehicle in a multitude of ways, there are 5 main components on your car that are at higher risk of damage during colder weather.

 

Battery

Car batteries aren’t a fan of the cold. As temperatures drop, your car battery starts to work harder. If at all possible, park your car in a garage at night to best protect it from winter weather. It’s important to know that a car battery older than three years should be replaced by a professional mechanic. That being said, you should consider having your battery tested often. Some service centers even offer a battery check for free. You don’t want to be stuck in a worst-case scenario with a dead battery in the middle of winter!

 

Wipers

It’s common for wipers to be replaced more often during the winter. This is because the cold weather can cause them to freeze to the windshield and become damaged.  If there’s an impending storm or if you plan on leaving your car outside overnight, it’s recommended to either take your wipers off completely or tilt them upwards to protect them from damage! You might also consider purchasing a frost-guard, which not only protects your windshield and wipers from winter weather but also cuts down on time spent scraping the ice off your windshield. For a simple, DIY deicer recipe to get you on the road faster on chilly mornings, click here.

 

Tires

It’s not uncommon for the tire pressure light to come on in your vehicle’s dashboard during the winter! In the cold, tires expand and contract when driving. Before the winter weather arrives, it’s recommended to inspect your tire pressure. Improper tire pressure could result in uneven tread wear or even a flat tire! You might also consider purchasing snow tires for added safety during the winter.

 

Undercarriage, Wheel Wells and Brakes

When considering the science involved, we know that metal and cold temperatures are not a good match. Metal—like the metal found in your tires—tends to shrink. Add salt and the other chemicals typically put down on roads to prevent ice build-up and this can cause damage to the undercarriage, wheel wells and brakes. Make a point to wash your car at least once a month to help remove chemical buildup!

 

Fluids

Your vehicle’s antifreeze, transmission fluid and oil will thicken in colder temperatures. When they thicken, the fluids have a harder time moving through the system and can cause a malfunction. To help prevent this, it’s recommended to run your car for 10 to 15 minutes to let it warm up, and to top off liquids before the winter weather hits.

Pro-tip: Keep extra containers of these liquids, as well as windshield washing fluid in your vehicle in case of emergency.

 

Knowing how winter weather affects your vehicle is essential as you hit the snowy roads. Be proactive and ensure your vehicle is equipped with a car safety kit. This could come in handy if caught in an emergency situation! For additional safety, consider completing an auto wellness checkup or contacting your agent to add Roadside Assistance to your existing policy.

 

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