According to the Weather Channel, the average low temperature in Denver during the month of January is 16 degrees. Winter can do costly damage to a car, so car owners would be served well by taking appropriate steps to prevent harm to their vehicles.
Ice, Snow and Cold Weather Can Damage Car Performance
One well-known part of the car that changes during the winter is the battery. Old and damaged batteries are less capable of starting in the winter. When the temperature drops, the battery loses amps because the chemical reaction in the battery fluid doesn’t function as well. Problems with the car’s alternator can exacerbate the reduction in charge in the battery and lead to a car failing to start.
Car fluid can thicken in the winter because without the sun’s heat, the fluid freezes. Transmission fluid is known to be susceptible to this reaction and can cause engine failure.
Lower tire pressure from cold weather can hurt cars as well. Tire pressure falls at a rate of 1 PSI for every 10 degrees of temperature reduction. So if a person filled the tires to 40 PSI in 70-degree weather, in 20-degree weather, the same tires have 35 PSI. This can lead to tire blowouts and flat tires.
In addition to chemical and mechanical changes, a cold environment can damage cars in other ways by increasing the rate of driving hazards. Ice storms, for example, can cause falling branches to damage a car. Hail can dent a car’s body or frame. People also have to be careful that they don’t damage their car’s windows or body while removing ice or snow.
How to Prevent Freezing Weather Damage from Impairing Car Performance
It is a good idea for people to complete repairs on their cars before winter because the cold may exacerbate any existing problems. Drivers should check tire pressure before winter begins or ask a mechanic to check battery power.
Another good step to take before winter comes is to patch any scratches or exposed metal on the car. Touch-up paint kits are available at most auto repair shops. The kits are matched for specific vehicle makes and models. While you’re there, you can get the technicians to test your battery.
Tom Deutcsh of Lindenhurst Long Island Firestone Complete Auto Care told AccuWeather.com, “A typical battery can last an average of about three years and usually can handle the cold. Extreme cold pulls voltage from a battery, making it harder for your car to start. A typical battery is most comfortable between 30 and 90 F, so anything below that lower end will give you trouble.”