Cold Weather Car Care – Oil and Batteries Matter

January 13th, 2016

Cold Weather Car Battery Problems - Cedar RapidsFreezing cold weather can stop your car in its tracks, so making sure you do the simple things to ensure that it starts with ease may save you time and money later on. Your car battery, and oil can both be a source of complication as the temperature drops – especially if your car is stored outside.

A Dead Car will Cost You Money

While we all know that you will eventually have to spend money on auto repairs, even when you are meticulous about getting routine oil changes and maintenance done. But a car that won’t start due to cold weather may cost you an unexpected day off work too.

It is estimated that 90% of all engine wear is caused by cold starts.

What the Cold Weather Does to Your Car

There are two main reasons that the engine might start harder in the cold than it does on any other day of the year. First, like any other liquid, oil thickens as it gets colder, and the subzero temperatures that occur in Iowa during January and February are sure to stiffen your automobile oil. Secondly, the cold weather slows the chemical reaction in the car battery, and that reduces the power output.

Prevent Oil Thickening

During winter months, use a lighter weight oil or synthetic oil. An IOW 30, 40 or 50 multi-grade oil are typically good choices, but be sure to pay attention to the manufacturer recommendations, because every vehicle is different. Because so much engine wear occurs during cold starts, it is important to keep it properly lubricated, and a thinner oil in the winter will flow better between the crankshaft and the bearing.

When it’s Time for a New Battery

Your car usually turns over without a problem, but suddenly the cold weather is making it nearly impossible to turn over. A car’s battery will lose 33% of its power when the temperature dips below freezing, and 50% when it reaches sub-zero temps. That takes a toll on a battery.

It may be time to get your battery tested and change it if your car starts having trouble turning over even when the engine has been warmed up in the past few hours.

Starting Your Car Daily Could Save You from Being Stranded

A fully charged battery will not freeze completely until it reaches -76 degrees F. On the other hand, a partially charged battery can freeze at a much warmer temperature, and can be an explosion hazard.

If the temperatures are well below freezing and your car is outside, be sure to start it and let it run, or drive it every day. Running your vehicle each day during cold spells will help it to charge fully, rather than losing its charge and freezing up.

If you need your battery tested, or complete auto maintenance services, call 5 Seasons Tire today.

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