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Cold Weather and Your Car: How It Affects Performance

cold weather and your car

While some people may enjoy winter for the snowy landscape, the brisk cool temperatures, and the holiday season, the winter can have some drastic effects on your car. We’ve put together a post on cold weather and your car so you know what to be aware of during these cold months.

According to AccuWeather, there are five main things to be aware of: battery, fluids, tires, wipers, and spark plugs. All of these components will take a hit with the cold weather, making them less reliable and more likely to fail.

Cold weather pulls voltage from batteries and electrical systems. Batteries work best in temperatures between 30 degrees and 90 degrees Fahrenheit; however, temperatures outside of this range mean your battery is considerably more likely to fail.

Fluids thicken in the winter. When you change your oil, you should always opt for a thinner, or less viscous, fluid. This makes it more effective in your engine. Also, make sure to get antifreeze/coolant with a 50/50 mix – believe it or not, this mixture is more resistant to cold temperatures than even pure antifreeze.

Colder air means your tire pressure is going to decrease. For every 10 degree drop in the temperature, expect about a loss of 1 psi. That means that if you live in areas like the Midwest, you’ll have to seasonally adjust your tire pressure.

Wipers should be changed annually, and the winter is the perfect time to do this because you tend to use them more at this time.

Finally, spark plugs wear out more in the winter. Bad ignition leads to poor performance and lousy fuel economy. If your car is being difficult when you start it or idling rough, consider changing out your spark plugs.