With Old Man Winter on the way, now is the time to prepare your car for the colder weather ahead. Freezing temperatures make an unexpected breakdown more likely to occur. Here’s how to avoid some of the worst winter car problems.
Winter Car Problems: Dead Battery
A dead battery will make your day a lot more stressful. It’s no secret that a car needs more juice to start during the winter. If your battery is weak, it’s only a matter of time before you experience car trouble.
Before the winter arrives, be sure to have your battery tested. If a mechanic recommends you to get a new battery, try to avoid buying the cheapest one on the shelf. Budget-priced batteries are more prone to failing sooner than expected. A little extra battery maintenance will also help you to avoid being stuck out in the cold. Simple things, like cleaning the terminals and tightening the cables, can make a big difference.
Winter Car Problems: Heater Not Working
During the winter, driving a car with no heat will be a miserable experience. It can make your entire body feel numb, especially your hands and feet. Fortunately, routine servicing can help keep your heater circulating warm air.
Oftentimes, a lack of heat stems from a low level of antifreeze. Adding more antifreeze may temporarily solve the problem. However, you’ll ultimately need to track down the source of your coolant leak. A stuck thermostat will also cause your heater to perform poorly. If your temperature gauge starts to drop towards the cold mark when cruising along the highway, this is a tell-tale sign of a bad thermostat.
Winter Car Problems: Deflated Tires
When outside temperatures drop, car tires tend to lose pressure at a greater rate. This means a flat tire is more likely to occur. Remember, traveling on deflated tires can be dangerous. Low pressure increases the risk of a sudden blowout. The powerful explosion may cause you to lose control over the vehicle, which could lead to a serious crash.
To be on the safe side, drivers should develop a habit of checking their tire pressure at least twice a month. It only takes less than 10 minutes to do the job using a digital tire pressure gauge. You should also routinely inspect the tires for punctures and cracks.
Winter Car Problems: Stuck in the Snow
As you know, Raleigh usually has at least a couple of winter storms every year. This leads to dozens of motorists getting stuck in the snow. The easiest way to prevent this problem is to simply stay home. However, not everyone has the luxury of being able to take a day off.
If you must travel in the snow, be sure to keep a shovel in the trunk at all times. You may need to dig yourself out of a snowdrift at some point. In the event the local weather forecast calls for snow, consider installing winter tire chains. The extra grip will help prevent spinning, thus enabling your car to churn through the slush. Also, stick to driving on main roads whenever possible.
Winter Car Problems: Broken Serpentine Belt
Most of today’s cars are designed with a serpentine belt. This rubber belt is designed to drive multiple components, including the alternator and water pump. If the serpentine belt snaps while you’re on the road, you’ll likely need to call for a tow.
A chilly winter can cause an old serpentine belt to crack. When the belt starts to make a high-pitched squealing noise, it’s definitely time to have it replaced. Allowing a mechanic to inspect your serpentine belt will give you an extra sense of security. Luckily, a serpentine belt is not an expensive part. We hope this article has helped you avoid any winter car problems you might have in 2021.