5 Things Extreme Weather Does To Your Car

Sep 13, 2023

For some, there is no such thing as bad weather – summer is the perfect time for swimming and hiking, and winter calls for snowboarding and soaking in natural hot springs. However, the extreme summer heat can give us clammy skin and headaches, while winter leads to chapped hands and lips. Likewise, severe weather can be harsh on our cars too. Here are five things that extreme weather can do to your vehicle:

1. Corroded Battery Terminals

Extreme temperature rise or drop leads to corrosion on battery cables and terminals. Additionally, the high temperature often overcharges the battery, and winter slows down the chemical reaction happening inside the battery. The best way to ensure that the car battery runs smoothly is to regularly check the fluid, detach the cables, and clean the terminals to ensure that corrosion does not build up. Also, a visit to a service station for a quick battery inspection can tell you if it's time to replace the battery.

2. Inefficient Car Engine

The cooling system prevents the engine from getting overheated. The cooling system uses a mixture of antifreeze and water, commonly known as coolant, to protect the radiator and internal engine components from wear and corrosion. An ideal coolant composition is a mixture of antifreeze and water in a 50/50 ratio. You can also purchase a pre-mixed engine coolant suitable for every weather condition. It is essential to check the coolant levels and periodically replace it. A rule of thumb is to flush the car radiator and add new coolant every two years, as engine coolant gets contaminated and its protective additives lose efficiency over time.

3. Deterioration of Hoses, Belts, and Windshield Wiper Blades

Any wear and tear on the hoses and belts can overheat the engine. The hoses pump coolant to and from the engine block and undergo electrochemical degradation (ECD), mainly in parts nearest to the radiator clamps. The belts that run the fan to keep the system cool also experience cracks and damage, which leads to an overheated engine. It is wise to check the condition of hoses and belts before going on an extended summer drive.

Temperature below freezing point makes the rubber on wiper blades brittle, which leads to tear or crack. Check regularly to make sure that the wiper blade is not worn out. Replacing them every six months is a good practice.

4. Change in Oil Viscosity

Temperature change alters oil viscosity, making it thinner and runnier in summer or thicker in winter. Low-viscosity oil makes it difficult to lubricate the moving parts inside the engine, while thick oil moves sluggishly through the engine, overheating it in the process. Hence, checking the oil viscosity before a drive is essential. You can refer to your owner's manual to know if your engine oil has the ideal consistency to perform at a specific temperature.

In addition to oil weight, clean oil is essential to prevent engine damage. A brownish yellow color indicates clean oil, while a darker color with dirt and grime means it's time to change oil and filter.

5. Tire Bursts

Tire pressure is one of the most overlooked things that might have grave consequences if ignored. An over-inflated, under-inflated, worn down, or misaligned tire can lead to bursting of the tire, especially during extreme weather. The tire pressure changes approximately one to two pounds per square inch for every 10-degree rise in temperature. Ensure your tires are adequately inflated, either with a hand pressure gauge or let the experts at the service shop do it for you.

Extreme weather can adversely impact your vehicle's performance by altering oil viscosity, overheating, and lowering your battery's capacity, and can also make the ride uncomfortable. No matter how cold or hot it is outside, you can easily let your vehicle reach the ideal operating temperature with a remote starter. Now you can remote start your car using a smartphone app that works from virtually anywhere in North America. It offers fully functional two-way communication, keyless entry, and the ability to locate your vehicle from your smartphone. The remote starter system is technology at its best.