How The Cold Affects Your Car

Winter sucks. Driving in the winter sucks. Not only for you but for your car. Sure, you're the one that has to leave your warm bed to go out into the cold, but how do you think your car feels? It's stuck outside all the time (unless you're one of the privileged people that has a garage clear enough to fit your car into). The temperature in Oakville last week dropped down to -20 degrees, so it was extremely cold. We've talked in the past about how to prepare your car for the winter, but why should we? What happens to our car in the winter that makes us need to coddle it so much? Let's go over what happens to your vehicle in the cold winter weather.

Tired Tires

Air contracts (gets smaller) as it gets colder and that applies to the air in your tires as well. Since there is now less pressure in your tire, the tire becomes underinflated and won't wear down as evenly as it normally should. Make sure you check your tire pressure more often than you normally would to make sure your tires stay inflated at their proper levels. (Note: Get Winter Tires. They help.)

Oil Gains Holiday Weight

People aren't the only thing that gets thicker over the holidays. The deep cold will also thicken the oil in your engine making it more difficult for your oil pumps to circulate it. Obviously, this will wear on your engine and reduce its life. You should talk to a service technician about what kind of oil you should put in your vehicle for the winter.

I (Don't) Have The Power!

Batteries really don't like the cold, and like many people, they'll just decide that they don't want to work today. This is because the chemicals in the battery react a lot slower in sub-zero temperatures. Hopefully, your battery will come back to life with just a boost, but it's still an inconvenience to go through that hassle. You can try preventing this with a battery warmer, available at most automotive accessory stores in your area (the Canadian Tire on Kerr Street carries them).

Ice In Your Veins

While the gasoline in your fuel tank won't freeze (unless you're somewhere where the temperature is -100 degrees like Barrie), there can still be water moisture in your fuel lines. That WILL freeze causing blockages and stopping your vehicle from receiving the proper amount of fuel. The best way to prevent this from happening is making sure that your gas tank is always at least half full.

Lazy Crystal Display

Many vehicles now are equipped with LCD screens on the dashboard for your infotainment system. LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display, meaning your screen is full of a type of liquid molecule. So just like your oil, the cold will make those molecules thicker, and it will be harder for them to move around. There's nothing you can do to prevent this other than just being patient and letting your car warm up.


Windshield wipers aren't the most technologically advanced things. They're usually just thin rubber on a metal or plastic arm. The issue with rubber is that when the temperature drops, the rubber gets brittle and could crack or break. It's recommended that you get winter blades, which have a sturdier frame and thicker rubber that can withstand the cold and snow.


Winter sucks. I know I've said that already, but it's worth repeating. Just remember that you're not the only one suffering from the cold and snowy conditions. Your car has many issues that come along during the winter, so next time your car stutters a bit when it's -30 out, you won't blame the car completely and instead blame physics.