5 Ways Winter Affects Your Car

Cold Weather And Your Car


After a long days work it’s always great to get to put your feet up and relax. During the winter this can be even more rewarding because we’ve more than likely endured some cold and miserable conditions on the way to and from work. But for one member of the family there is sometime no escape from the cold weather. We are of course talking about our cars.

I know what you’re thinking; it’s just a car and what harm can a bit of frost or sub zero temperature cause? But actually the cold weather can actually affect your car in a number of different ways. Don’t believe us? Here are 5 ways cold weather can affect the average Irish car.

1. Car Battery
You're not the only one that feel lethargic and lacking energy during a cold snap. Temperature changes greatly affect the chemical reactions that take place in a battery which leads to the starter motor having less energy to work with when you try to start your car. Try avoiding putting too much strain on your car battery during the winter by giving yourself plenty of time to get get started and to your destination. If you do have an issue with your car battery during the winter make sure you contact your insurer as many car insurance providers include breakdown assist in their policies. This can vary between insurers so check at the time of purchase.
2. Corrosion
During the winter months you may see your local roads department gritting the highways and byways of Ireland. This is to make sure that all roads remain passable during cold snaps and to break down any potential snowfall on the road. Although this is to help with road safety it is not great for your car. Grit is salt based and salt can speed up the rusting and corrosion process. Corrosion involves the transfer of electrons from one substance to the other. Water increases the transfer of these electrons which means that salt can speed up the rusting process.
3. Tyre Pressure
Tyres are affected by drops in temperature because the pressure (per square inch) usually drops in colder weather. This means that if you haven’t checked the pressure since the summer now might be the best time to do it. If the tyres are under-inflated not only will it affect steering and handling but it will also impact on the life span of the tyres. Other problems associated with underinflated tyres include increased fuel consumption and the risk of increased damage to the treading of the tyre.
4. Unseen Cracks
Chips in your windscreen can become major issues if left untreated during the winter. Although you mightn't see them when they happen chances are you will begin to notice them once the cold season starts. Small cracks will allow moisture to get inside your windscreen and once this moisture starts to freeze you may start seeing other cracks appearing on the windscreen. Soon a small crack can lead to you needing a full windscreen replacement. As with breakdown assist many insurers include windscreen replacement in their car insurance policies so make sure you check with your insurer when you take out your cover.
5. Less Fuel Efficiency.
Lower temperatures can have an impact on your car’s fuel efficiency. It’s not just one thing that causes all the issues though. How many of us have turned on the car in the morning to let it heat up? This can have a serious drain on fuel if you do this every morning it’s cold. If there is heavy rain or snow during the winter then your car will have to do more work. This can also cause issues with your fuel efficiency. Finally the viscosity of the oil and other fluids in your car increases with decreasing temperature, which means that more work and more fuel is required by your vehicle to overcome friction in the engine, transmission and other drive train components.

How can you combat the effects of cold weather on your car?

  • Wash your car frequently.
  • Check tyre pressure on a regular basis.
  • Keep your windscreen clear and check regularly for breakages.
  • Park in a car park or garage. If this is not possible consider purchasing a car cover.

If you have any other suggestions on how to protect your car during the winter feel free to let us know on our Facebook or send a tweet to @chill_insurance.