Cold weather is hard on everyone and everything, and that includes your car. There’s a lot of different ways cold weather can damage your car. Some are easy to fight, while others require more strategy. The best way to defend your vehicle from the threat of ice and freezing temperatures is with an understanding of how winter really affects it.
Most people who live in winter-stricken areas are all too familiar with the threat that salt poses to their vehicles. The stuff makes roads significantly safer to traverse, but it has a lethal effect on metal components. Salt melts snow and ice, and the three mix into a saline slurry. Slush splashes up and gets all over the undercarriage and sides of the vehicle, which will expediate occurrences of rust.
Normally, as long as your car’s tubes and wires are in decent shape, leaks are not a problem. However, plastic and rubber tubes eventually become dry-rotted and need replacing. Much of this gradual degrading occurs during winter. Keeping your car in a garage helps to some degree, but the icy dryness of winter air always wins over time. Keep a close eye on your vehicle’s internal fluid system, and watch closely for dampness. Even with new parts, contracting occurs in cold weather, which can cause thin seepage gaps that can worsen dramatically if ignored.
Overall wear is one of the major different ways cold weather can damage your car. With the onset of freezing temperatures, things don’t work as effectively. Joints, brakes, and valves and any other little moving parts that normally never get consideration wear much harder. A little extra WD-40 can help hinges and other moving parts, but this can only go so far. Additionally, tires need special attention in the cold-weather months.
Even the toughest materials start to become frail in cold weather. Once temperatures hit freezing, take extra care. Mirrors and parts that stick out of your vehicle can snap off with surprisingly little effort. This is especially true of any plastic areas or thin alloy portions. Grabbing your rearview mirror at just the right angle could break it clean off in the cold. In addition, general exterior damage is extra-easy to incur. The metal exterior of your car also becomes very brittle in cold weather, so be wary of denting. As a rule, give your car as much time as it needs to really warm up before you interact with it too much.