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Common Causes for Cold Car Breakdowns

Car covered in Snow

The weather has turned and we’re in for a cold patch, this is great for kids hoping for a day off school but it can be a nightmare for your car. Some mornings your car will struggle to start and it may take ages for it to properly warm up. To keep you ahead of any errors and to ensure that your car stays smooth all winter, here’s what you need to look out for.

Dead Battery

Without a doubt the most common causes for a breakdown during the winter months are battery faults. The drop in temperature can have a serious impact on the performance of the battery and as you tend to be running the heating, lights, wipers etc. this places a lot more demand on the battery.

It may be a common fault, but it can be easily avoided by:

  • Having a winter check to inspect clamps, connections and ensure they are free from corrosion
  • Make sure you turn off the lights and radio
  • Replace old batteries

Frozen Fluids

If you’ve neglected to change your washer fluid and engine oil from the summer months then you could be in for a nasty surprise as this fluid thickens or freezes. As these thicken your engine will have to work harder to run properly, putting extra strain on your vehicle and potentially causing faults to occur.

Make sure that you top up your wiper fluid and oil with ones that are designed to handle the cold winter months. You may need your engine oil changing entirely, most garages will offer this service at a low cost. Taking this simple precaution can help to drastically cut down on any potential issues caused by the drop in temperature.

Tyre Blow Outs

You should be regularly checking your tyre pressures throughout the year, but it is especially important during the winter months. As the air outside gets colder, the air condenses meaning that there can be a huge drop in tyre pressure. Make sure that you ensure your tyres aren’t under-inflated as this can cause them to become damaged or even blow out at high speeds.

Depending on how extreme the weather conditions are where you live, it may be worthwhile investing in a set of winter tyres. These provide much better performance on snow and ice as well as being better equipped to handle the drop in temperatures.

Frozen Doors and Windows

While this may not be a breakdown as such, it can cause damage to your car that can be costly to fix. Trying to force open a door can rip the seal, exposing the interior of your car to the elements as it is no longer water tight. Similarly, trying to operate windows that are frozen to the frame can cause them to become detached from the mechanism so they are either stuck in place or fall into the door.

These issues can be prevented by smearing Vaseline or silicone polish on the door seals, this will prevent them from freezing to the door itself allowing you to open it with ease all year round. It’s hard to prevent windows from freezing, so it is best to not try to roll them down until the car is warmed up and the ice has melted.

At Nathaniel Cars we offer a winter safety check for just £9.99, including a windscreen cover, ice scraper and hand warmer. Keeping your car running well during the winter months doesn’t have to be expensive, talk to Nathaniel Cars today to find out more.

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