4 Ways Cold Weather Affects Your Vehicle

The Fall and Winter months in Tucson, AZ are mostly mild. This time of year, many people from other parts of the country flock to our humble city to seek refuge from the adverse weather affecting their home state. Even so, the temperature does drop significantly from the extreme highs of the summer. These changes in temperature do have an impact on your vehicle.

4 ways cold weather affects your vehicle

Here are 4 Ways Cold Weather Affects Your Vehicle:

  • Tire pressure decreases. In the fall and winter months, the average high temperature drops around 40-50 degrees (Fahrenheit) from the average summer high. And when the temperature drops, so does your psi. The reason for this is that gasses expand when they are heated and contract when temps lower. Under-inflated tires can affect vehicle performance and traction, so once the temperature drops, check and adjust your tire’s psi.
  • Battery power weakens. In Tucson, we don’t see temperatures reach zero degrees, which drains the batteries power by about 60 percent, but we do make it into the 32-degree range (mostly at night) where your battery can lose 35 percent of its power. Starting your engine in cold weather takes around two times as much current as you would need in warmer conditions. If your battery is old or weakened from the summer heat, it will likely die at some point during the winter. The best thing you can do is have your battery tested when temperatures first drop. This will tell you whether it’s time to replace it or if a recharge is all it needs to get you through the cooler fall and winter months.
  • Fluids thicken. Antifreeze, oil and transmission fluid will thicken in cooler temps, making it so that they do not pass through the engine as freely. Topping all fluids off or changing them if necessary before temperatures drop can help keep things from gooping up on you. If they are filled to their proper levels, there is less room for them to expend. If you do not top off, you may need to warm your car for 10-15 minutes before you can drive it so that the fluids can thin out and flow properly. Who has time for that?
  • Fuel lines freeze. If you live in Tucson, you are probably scratching your head at this one. We know, temperatures are seldom below freezing here, but it does happen now and again. Not to mention, there is skiing on Mount Lemmon not too far away, so you may expose your vehicle to cold enough temperatures to heed our warning. In the cooler months of fall and winter, especially if you keep your vehicle parked outside for long periods, keep your gas tank at least half full.  Condensation forms in the empty part of the tank and has the potential to freeze when the temperatures drop. If this happens the fuel lines ice up, fuel can’t reach your engine, and your vehicle won’t start.

As we are entering the month of November, Tucson temperatures are only now starting to drop, making this the perfect time to perform some routine maintenance. This would ensure that your vehicle can make it through the colder season, and perhaps any holiday travel, without trouble.

At Accurate Service, our highly qualified automotive repair specialists are happy to help you prepare your vehicle for cooler temperatures. For over 20 years we have offered the best automotive services in Tucson, AZ, at the best price. Call us at (520) 622-7685 or schedule an appointment online.