7 Worst Problems for your Car in Winter


It’s that time of year when all you want to do is grab a warm blanket and hibernate in your bed until it passes. It’s that time when everything becomes more difficult, takes longer, and is literally painful because of the weather.

It’s called ‘winter’.

It may come as little or no solace, but your vehicle finds winter just as tough as you do. Every joint feels stiffer, every task is more difficult, and performance is sluggish. There is no easy way through winter besides shoving off on a five-month cruise, and that’s an option not available to your vehicle.

Preparation is the best prevention of vehicle problems in the wintertime, and the only way to be prepared is to be aware of the most common vehicle problems in winter. Here are the seven worst things for your car during winter.

Your Coolant Strength is Too Weak

Your engines water pump circulates coolant throughout passages, through the heater core, and through the radiator. The coolant, also known as antifreeze, is responsible for removing heat from the engine and dissipating it in the radiator. Although it may seem ironic to discuss heat dissipation in the winter, the task still needs to be performed. Engines produce mass amounts of heat, and temperatures will skyrocket if the antifreeze doesn’t flow whether it’s -40F or 100F outside.

Engine antifreeze prevents the fluid from freezing in the engine, which not only restricts the coolant flow but also can cause horrific amounts of damage to the whole cooling system. Making sure your coolant strength is good for -40F is excellent standard practice no matter what climate you operate in. The rule of thumb is usually mixing the straight antifreeze 50/50 with distilled water. If you are using pre-mixed coolant, obviously don’t mix it any further.

Spinning Tires When you are Stuck

If you’ve ever driven in snowy and icy conditions, you’ve likely been stuck or hung up in the snow with your vehicle and know the frustration associated with it. If you find yourself in this place, be very careful about spinning your tires. You may need to spin them to get traction and pull yourself out of a sticky situation, but be sure your tires won’t either suddenly grab the pavement, or jerkily move between the gears on an automatic transmission. Not only will spinning your tires wear your tires extremely fast, but the sudden grip on the tires from reaching pavement, or the sudden shifting from drive to reverse to drive to reverse can cause severe damage to your transmission. It can be as bad as a differential pin flying through the transmission case, so beware.

View on One Page