6 ways cold weather can affect your car

6 ways cold weather can affect your car

There are many different issues that your car can face in the winter months, and you can land yourself a hefty bill if you do not keep your car in good working order, particularly when the weather gets colder.

The following are a list of problems you may encounter while maintaining a vehicle during the colder winter months.

Dead battery

Winter can be especially tough on batteries. If your car isn’t starting, one of the most likely causes may be that the battery is dead. If this happens to you, you can use jumper cables to give your car a jump start.

It is also recommended to replace batteries that are more than three years old, and maintain the battery by ensuring it is free of corrosion.

If you drive an electric vehicle

Cold weather unfortunately may impact an EV’s efficiency and overall performance. Low temperatures slow the battery chemistry, which results in less energy for acceleration.

It takes more energy to keep your battery at efficient operating temperature, as well as energy needed to use the heating to keep your vehicle warm.

This can result in a slight decrease in range compared to optimal driving conditions. You should keep this in mind and plan your route accordingly.

Your tyres may become underinflated

As the air in your tyres gets colder, it contracts and has less pressure. Due to this, tyres can become underinflated. The solution to this is to check your tyre pressure more frequently than you ordinarily would.

A quick check once a week can help you to keep your tyres at the recommended pressure, and prevent causing uneven or unsafe tread.

Thick Oil

As it gets colder, the oil in your vehicle becomes thicker. This can cause issues with the engine, making it harder for the engine to circulate it. It is recommended to switch to low-viscosity oil in the winter, especially if you live in areas where it is frequently below freezing during the winter.


While the petrol or diesel in your car will not freeze, you should try to keep your tank at least half full during the colder winter months. This will prevent moisture forming inside the fuel tank, as that water could freeze and clog fuel pickup.

Windscreen Wipers

Below freezing temperatures can cause the rubber on windscreen wipers to become brittle, causing it to tear or crack. It is recommended to check your windscreen wipers frequently to make sure they are not too old or worn, and replace them as needed.

It is also recommended to keep a winter kit in your car, just incase you break down. Keep a shovel, torch, blanket, hi-visibility vest, screen wash, rations, something to drink (on long journeys, pack a flask of something hot), ice scraper, snow grips for your shoes, de-icer, jump leads, spare fuses and bulbs, a strong rope should you need to be towed and a reflective warning triangle.

On top of this, make sure you have a fully charged mobile phone.

You should also carry out checks on your vehicle routinely. Around 35% of motorists are driving around with faulty and failing lights. They are an absolute essential part of your winter car maintenance and should be checked before you set off anywhere.

Get someone to help you, and ensure that all your lights are working. This includes your headlights (and full beams), side lights, brake lights, reversing lights, fog lights, indicators, number plate lights and don’t forget your internal light, should you get stuck at the side of the road in the dark.

You should also test your breaks – Your brakes are one of, if not the most important thing in your car, and it is essential that these are serviced properly before you start any journey. After all, they will keep you safe.

The easiest way to do this is to take your car to a quiet location, where you can test your brakes effectively. Listen for any squeaking or grinding noises, as this could indicate a problem. Use your gut instinct as well. If your brakes simply do not feel quite right, then take them to a garage and address this problem right away before you drive it anywhere else.

Finally, make sure to top up your anti-freeze. It will protect your engine in the cold temperatures. It will remove any excess heat from the engine on hot days and prevent it freezing up on colder days.

Whilst you are topping this up, you can also benefit from ensuring that your screen wash is full. Do not let it become too diluted, as it will freeze in the pipes of your car and the bottle, which can cause significant damage.

6 ways cold weather can affect your car

Useful links:

To find out more about our fuel cards can help your business, click here – https://www.cambriancards.com/fuel-cards

To learn more about how our telematics devices can help your business, click here – https://www.cambriancards.com/telematics

Official Government guidance on driving in adverse weather conditions – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/driving-in-adverse-weather-conditions-226-to-237#