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4 Common Car Problems During Winter

November 17, 2022

A snow-covered car is standing on the road.

Brrr…winter is coming to Columbia, MD. Are you ready? Here, we get an average of 17 inches of snow each winter. We also get our fair share of ice, sleet, and freezing rain. The good news is that you can retreat into your home to stay warm and dry. Your car, however, cannot. 

Your car has to handle everything that comes with the winter cold every time you drive it or park it outdoors. If your car’s lucky, it’ll get some short breaks from the chill in the garage. In any case, winter punishment takes its toll on vehicles, leading to common problems.

At Columbia Auto Care & Car Wash, we are your local auto repair experts. We specialize in the types of auto repair drivers in Columbia, MD drivers often need. 

We have outlined four of the most common automotive problems drivers experience in the area and how preventive maintenance can help.

1. A Dead Car Battery

Car batteries are uniquely vulnerable to winter conditions because of how they operate. 

A typical car battery relies on electrochemical reactions to produce electricity. In winter, the chemical reaction slows down, robbing your battery of between 30% and 60% of its power. If your battery is anything less than in good shape heading into winter, the first cold snap that hits us in Columbia could finish it.

This issue is a simple one to avoid. Just bring your car to Columbia Auto Care & Car Wash for preventative maintenance. We’ll test your battery to see if it’s ready for the winter cold. If not, we’ll install a new battery you can trust to get you through the snow season and beyond. 

2. Frozen Windshield Wipers

Frozen windshield wipers are another common car problem caused by winter weather. When the temperature outside hovers right around freezing and precipitation develops, rain or sleet won’t take long to build up on your car’s windshield. 

When the temperature drops below freezing, that buildup turns to ice. When it does, it can freeze your windshield wipers to your windshield.

If you’re lucky, you won’t use your wipers until the temperature rises and melts the ice. If you’re not, you could tear the rubber off your wipers by turning them on. 

To avoid torn wipers, take a quick look at your wipers each time you get in your car this winter. It’s easy to see when they’re iced up, so you can avoid damaging them. Or get a set of winter wipers that can better handle cold and icy conditions.

3. Sudden Oil Leaks

Although most car owners don’t know it, oil leaks are far more common in the winter than summer. The reason is simple. When you use your engine, and it heats up, its metal surfaces expand. As it cools, they contract. 

The colder outdoor temperatures in winter lead to a bit more metal contraction. It can open up small gaps inside your engine, allowing oil to seep out in the process.

If it helps, consider a small winter oil leak as an inexpensive service reminder. In a way, a winter oil leak could give you a chance to do some preventative maintenance. If you take care of the problem while the leak is still tiny and only happens in the winter, you’ll avoid more costly repairs later. 

4. Flat or Underinflated Tires

Metal isn’t the only thing that contracts in the cold. So does air. That contraction can rob your tires of around 1 PSI of pressure for every ten-degree temperature drop. When it gets cold enough, your tires could end up underinflated enough to trigger your car’s TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) if it has one.

Continuing to drive on underinflated tires can lead to some permanent damage. The next thing you know, you’ll find a flat tire or tires greeting you on some chilly morning. To avoid this, make it a point to check your tire pressure when the temperature starts to drop.

If they need more air, you fill them up. If your tires look like they’re due for replacement, bring your car to Columbia Auto Care & Car Wash for a new durable set of winter or snow tires.

Contact Columbia Auto Care & Car Wash for Preventative Maintenance in Columbia, MD

Needless to say, you don’t want your car to suffer any of the problems we’ve described above. That’s why we’re happy to tell you it doesn’t have to. 

Instead, bring your car into our shop for the best auto repair in Columbia, MD has to offer. We’ll make sure your car’s ready for the winter weather. If it’s not, we’ll tell you what it needs for the coming cold season.

Contact us today by completing our online contact form, calling (410) 740-9890, or stopping by our shop at 10611 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, MD 21044.

COLUMBIA AUTO CARE & CAR WASH
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