Winter Weather Mechanical Issues Every Driver Should Get To Know

2 November 2015
 Categories: , Blog


From a drained battery to broken wipers, cold weather can definitely bring with it a lot of new hassles as a vehicle owner. However, beyond the ordinary problems that are usually an easy fix, there are some major mechanical issues that can come about as a result of dipping temperatures. Here are a few cold-weather mechanical problems that can come up, even when you think you are doing everything to avoid problems in the winter.

Ice Inside of Your Fuel Lines

You are likely thinking that fuel should not freeze, so this should not be a concern. After all, most experts claim that gasoline will not freeze unless it reaches frigid temperatures of at least -40 degrees Celsius. But, it is not the fuel that you should worry about freezing inside of fuel lines, but the moisture that could be present. Moisture can make its way into your fuel tank either from a bad fuel source, condensation, or otherwise. If you do find yourself with a frozen fuel line, catch a ride to an auto parts store where you can buy a fuel antifreeze treatment, which will absorb the water in the tank and eliminate it.

Compromised Alternator Belt

The alternator belt is one tough little piece of rubber, but it can become compromised in the cold temperatures greatly. The cold weather will cause the rubber to become more rigid, which can cause cracks and chips when the belt is turning the alternator at a high rate of speed. If the alternator belt becomes damaged, it will take more rotations to continuously supply power to the battery. So make sure that you check the alternator belt before the cold weather sets in, and keep an eye on it throughout the winter season.

Thickened Motor Fluids

Even though most of the fluids that are in your motor and transmission will not freeze, the cold weather will make them more viscous. Think about what would happen if you left a jar of honey or maple syrup in the fridge overnight and you will get a good idea of how fluids inside of your vehicle may react in the cold weather. Keeping your fluid levels at an adequate level will help to prevent them from being so susceptible to the cold. However, it is a good idea to make sure you allow your vehicle to warm up at an idle before just taking off after it has been sitting in the cold overnight.

When the first snowflakes start to show up and the winter season sets in, you always know as a driver that you should give yourself a few extra minutes every morning to get your vehicle road-ready. If you are having issues with your vehicle thanks to the cold weather, stop in at an auto repair shop for advice.