Common Automotive Problems to Watch Out For This Winter

Posted on by Andy's Auto Supply & Repair
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Winter is Coming to Portland

The rainy season is here, and winter is coming. Game of Thrones is over, but KGW’s Rod Hill just announced a prediction for six weeks of rain throughout the rest of November and headed through December. With this change of precipitation comes a change in temperature. Cold temperatures are hard on a car, and motorists in Portland may find themselves with some malfunctioning parts due to the fluctuation in temperature. While specific maintenance tasks and other auto repair projects need completing by a trained mechanic, here are a few things motorists can do to avoid some of these typical vehicle issues during a road trip.

Common Winter Car Problems: What To Do About Them

Ice and rain on the road are stressful enough without having to worry about something being wrong with the vehicle. Here are a few issues that may come up this winter and what to do about them.

Frozen Windshield Wipers

Nothing is quite as infuriating as getting into the car in the morning to realize that the windshield wipers are frozen to the windshield. Don’t rip the windshield wipers away from the windshield, and do not pour hot or boiling water on the windshield. The sudden change in temperature may cause the glass to crack or shatter.

If the windshield wipers are frozen to the windshield and it’s a time-sensitive problem, try using a mixture of vinegar and water. Mix three parts vinegar and one part water at room temperature in a spray bottle. Spray the wipers to speed up the melting process in the morning.

  • To prevent frozen windshield wipers, take that same vinegar mixture and spray it on the windshield before going to bed at night.
  • Additionally, covering the windshield at night can prevent frozen windshield wipers in the morning. Cover the windshield with cloth or cardboard to keep it from freezing, and raise the wipers so that they lay down over it without any contact with the glass. This action will prevent the wipers from freezing to the glass overnight.
  • Put tube socks on the wipers. Then, leave the wiper blades lifted away from the glass for extra protection.
  • Replace the windshield wipers. Windshield wipers do not last longer than six to twelve months. It’s a good idea to replace the wipers before the beginning of winter for the best results.

Dead Car Batteries

Low temperatures cause significant strain on car batteries. The excess drain caused by cold temperatures results in dead car batteries in the morning. No one wants to be late to work because their car wouldn’t start. It’s embarrassing and avoidable. To avoid calling a neighbor for a jump start, keep these tips in mind to prevent a discharged car battery:

  • Check the battery’s age. Most car batteries need replacing once every 3-5 years.
  • Store jumper cables in the trunk.
  • Keep the name and number of a local auto repair shop in the glove compartment.
  • Check battery cables for corrosion. Corrosion depletes the battery faster.

Trouble Starting the Car

If it’s unusually cold outside, the car may have difficulty starting, especially if it was left out overnight. In these instances, turn the key and hold it for no longer than fifteen to twenty seconds. Do not crank the key longer than this. Make sure all of the car’s accessories are turned off, as they strain the battery on start-up. Check that the radio, lights, wiper blades, and heater are all turned off. If the car still doesn’t turn on, it may require a jump-start.

How To Avoid Starting Issues In the Morning:

  • Turn all accessories off before exiting the vehicle and turning it off in the evening.
  • Invest in block heaters if this is a recurrent issue.
  • Invest in a battery blanket or wrap. These things will insulate the battery and keep it warm overnight. Don’t forget to remove it before starting the car in the morning.
  • Inquire about battery terminal protectors at a local auto repair shop.

Tire Problems

auto repair by andys auto supply and repair. cold temperature causes low tire pressure.

Keep in mind that lower temperatures mean lower tire pressures! Check the tire pressure periodically to avoid a flat!

Keep in mind that tire pressure decreases along with the temperature. Driving a vehicle with low tire pressure is dangerous. If the tires seem low, stop by a gas station for a quick boost. If the problem is recurrent, have the tires checked for leaks by a tire professional.

How To Avoid Tire Issues During the Winter:

  • Invest in a pair of winter tires, especially if the tread on the existing tires is low.
  • Check tire pressure regularly. For every ten-degree drop in temperature (Fahrenheit), the tire pressure drops one pound per square inch (psi).
  • Replace all four tires, not just the front or rear, if replacing the tires at all.

Frozen Fuel Lines

Another common issue during the winter is frozen fuel lines. Condensation accumulates due to the change in weather, and that water can freeze, blocking the flow of gas in the fuel lines. If this happens, the car may need to be towed to the nearest auto repair shop.

How To Avoid Frozen Fuel Lines:

  • Park the car in a garage if able, or use block heaters to keep the car warm.
  • Keep the gas tank above half full during the winter.
  • Inquire about dry gas additive at your local mechanic’s shop. Some gas stations add antifreeze to their gas, so check before adding any additional gas line antifreeze to the vehicle.

How Can Andy’s Auto Supply & Repair Help?

Andy’s Auto Supply & Repair has over forty years of automotive experience in the Portland area. From routine maintenance to intensive repairs, Andy’s Auto Supply & Repair can handle it. We are locally owned and operated, and we believe in the power of integrity and honesty. You won’t find any hidden charges or unexpected invoices, and your safety is our utmost concern. Call today for a free repair quote and get started! We offer radiator repair, transmission repair, and more!





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