Winters Effect On Your Car – Tis The Season
The Cold Shoulder – Winters Effect On Your Car
It’s begun. Our coats are getting thicker, our boots warmer, and rakes are giving way to shovels. Winter is here. There may be a few odd days of warm weather left, but it’s fairly safe to assume its time to settle in for the blowing snow and freezing temperatures. If you’ve been following us so far, you’ll be plenty prepared. Why do we prepare? Other than the obvious road hazards, what is winters effect on your car? This week we’ll look at how Canada’s
most depressing favourite season affects your car, and what you can do about it.
Salt is the only thing you have to worry about. Other than that, driving in winter is really no different than in summer. You can even continue to put the top down on your convertible. This is some bad advice, and is just plain wrong. Winters effect on your car is vast, and very different than in summer. Lets start with the obvious:
Salt: Our roads are covered in salt in order to prevent ice from forming. Salt chemically lowers the freezing point of water, meaning water that would turn to ice at 0° will now have to be much colder to freeze. This prevents The 417 from becoming The Canal, and keeps us all safe. Salt can also speed up the formation of rust and corrosion on your vehicle. While you maybe have dent resistant, space age polymer body panels that don’t show any rust, winters effect on your car can be felt by having the various metals underneath slowly corrode away. It’s safe to assume most people would rather have a slightly rusty car than dangerously slide around all winter. A simple tune up can catch and major damage before it takes over. There are a few options to prevent salt from affecting your car:
- Undercoating Spray – This may be a little patronizing now that the snow is on the ground, but a decent undercoating in the fall (Or early winter) can stop rust from forming on surfaces under your car.
- Get Your Car Washed – It seems almost counter intuitive, but washing your car in winter (a wash that has an under spray) can remove built up salt and dirt from under your car, slowing down the formation of rust
- Electronic Module – No, these aren’t magical boxes you stick in your car and it never rusts again, gets 10,000 mpg and does 0-60 in under 2 seconds. With an anti-corrosion module your vehicle will still rust. However, if undercoating isn’t your thing, and car washes make you too claustrophobic, an anti corrosion module will help to slow (not prevent) the rust from forming.
Dirt build up: Canada doesn’t just salt the roads, we also sand them. If only we could add a little vinegar and pepper as well we’d have quite the seasoning mix. You can really feel winters effect on your can when dirt can gets into various vehicle components, which can begin to wear them out. Most of these issues aren’t life threatening, but rather should be noted over winter and cleaned thoroughly in spring:
- Brakes: Brake pads need clean, even contact with rotors to function properly. With salt and dirt pads can seize up, or wear unevenly, leading to a loss in performance. If only there was a local garage that specialized in brake servicing to make your life easier.
- Air filters: Driving highway speeds flings all sorts of dirt and salt into your car (hopefully you realized we were joking earlier and haven’t been driving with the top down). The air filters in your car have been doing their job, but that job requires them to get filthy. The spring is a good time to clean these, but if you notice a difference in engine performance or cabin air quality, it wouldn’t hurt to get them checked.
- Lingering Salt: Dried salt isn’t safe salt. Any salt sitting on your car is enough to cause corrosion and harmful wear. The humidity in the air is enough to have the salt actively corrode your vehicle. Keep that car clean!
The Roads: When water freezes, it expands. When water gets in to a tiny crack in the road and freezes, it expands, removing or shifting pavement creating bumps and potholes. Potholes provide hours of entertainment for your family by re-creating roller-coaster like drops and bumps! Once that novelty wears off, potholes are just plain bad for your car. Winters effect on your car is felt here by:
- Wheel alignment: Slamming potholes can knock your wheels out of alignment. Over a winter, misaligned wheels can cause loss of traction or uneven tire wear. Worn tires can lead to a further loss of traction. The last thing anyone needs driving in winter is more loss of traction. There are some options, but the best is to have a wheel alignment done before winter & summer.
- Tire pressure: Tire pressure is crucial for a number of reasons, such as fuel efficiency and safety. Cold air is more dense than hot air, and the air inside your tires is no exception. If you haven’t checked your tire pressure since the cold has arrived, do so now. Cold air will result in a lowering of tire pressure.
The main thing to take away here is even if you aren’t hitting black ice and sliding into the ditch, winter is still trying to destroy your car. Chemically, physically (and emotionally) winters effect on your car is slowly creeping in by corroding and damaging your ride. Armed with the knowledge of whats happening, you can prevent Canada’s
favourite harshest season from destroying your car.