Winter can be as hard on your vehicle as it is on you, even if the signs are a little less obvious (your truck can’t cry in front of the fireplace, clinging to a coffee mug). Here are a few reasons winter is tough on vehicles, and ways that you can help.
Summer Tire Wear
Living in Saskatchewan, the primary reason for switching to winter tires is obvious: it’s better to stay on the road than slide off of it like a shuffleboard. But, even for experienced drivers who choose to leave their summer tires on, cold weather can be costly. When the temperature falls, even 7o can do it, accelerated tire-wear will begin to show on your summer set. Unlike more flexible winter tires, summer tires are built to withstand heat, not salt, sand, and ice. In the long run, using one set of tires will not save you money because you’ll be replacing them more often.
Frozen Fuel Lines
The sound of an engine failing to turn over might be the seasonal anthem of Saskatchewan winters. To make sure their vehicles start every day, most drivers know to plug in their block heater overnight and to keep their battery fully charged by avoiding short trips. One problem drivers might not be aware of is a frozen fuel line. In sub-zero temperatures, moisture-rich air in the gas tank, mixed with fuel, can freeze. When the freezing occurs along the fuel line, it becomes impossible to start the vehicle. Keeping the gas tank full helps prevent this problem by limiting the amount of moisture in the gas tank. Plus, having plenty of fuel ensures you never get stranded in the cold!
Hold the Salt
Although we’re grateful when city crews spread salt and sand around major roadways, the material can be as hard on your car as it is on the ice. In particular, as it’s sprayed up by your tires, salt will damage the exterior of your vehicle. The salt used on the road lowers the freezing point of water to prevent the formation of ice. But this property also means that salt can extremely corrosive, and promote rust with prolonged exposure. Underneath your vehicle, rust damage can lead to costly fluid leaks. On the exterior, rust damage is unsightly and will hurt the resale value of your vehicle. In order to combat rust-damage, all you need to do is wash your vehicle monthly in winter – just make sure you don’t freeze your doors shut!