There are a variety of ways in which cold weather can affect your vehicle. Your car’s behavior, performance and fuel efficiency may all change as the temperatures drop. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the effects of cold weather on your car’s performance.
How Cold Weather Affects Your Vehicle Fuel Economy
Driving in cold weather can put unnecessary strain on your vehicle’s components, especially the engine. It can also cause dangerous driving conditions. And of course, it can adversely affect your fuel economy, costing you more money during the winter months. But there are ways to improve your fuel economy in cold weather.
In cold weather, friction between your engine and transmission increases, making the car use more fuel. This will decrease the distance you can cover in a single trip. You can improve your fuel economy by combining trips and parking in a garage where it’s warmer if possible. In colder temperatures, gasoline-powered vehicles can lose anywhere from 10% to 15% of their fuel economy, while hybrid and electric vehicles lose 45% to 53% of their fuel economy.
How Cold Weather Affects Your Vehicle Engine Performance
Cold weather can affect engine performance, particularly in cars. It affects the engine’s operating temperature and the mixture of fuel and air that passes through it. This difference can affect the engine’s efficiency. For example, colder air means that more oxygen is available to fuel and this results in better combustion and higher horsepower.
Cold weather also affects the viscosity of engine oil. As it becomes thicker, oil struggles to circulate properly. To help the oil flow better, consider changing your oil to a low-viscosity synthetic. You can also check the owner’s manual to see what oil weight your car requires for cold weather operation.
How Cold Weather Affects Your Vehicle Tire Pressure
When temperatures drop below zero degrees, the tire pressure sensor (TPS) in your car can lose accuracy. As a result, tire pressure can drop by a few PSI. It is important to maintain tire pressure regularly. Cold weather can cause tire leakage, so check your car’s tire pressure on a regular basis. It is not uncommon for a TPS light to come on after the first cold snap.
How Cold Weather Affects Your Vehicle Spark Plugs
If you’ve ever wondered how cold weather affects spark plugs, you’re not alone. The cold weather can make a spark plug less effective and potentially dangerous. The temperature range of a spark plug depends on the materials it’s made of and the type of combustion chamber it’s used in. Too hot and too cold plugs can damage the engine’s internal combustion system by losing spark energy and shorting the spark current.
The heat range of a spark plug is determined by the temperature range it operates in. For gasoline engines, the optimal temperature range is 500degC to 850degC. The latter is hot enough to burn off combustion deposits, while the former is cool enough to prevent pre-ignition.
How Cold Weather Affects Your Vehicle Rubber Compounds
In extreme cold, the properties of rubber are altered. These changes lead to an increased brittleness and cracking of rubber components in the vehicle. This can be disastrous, resulting in the failure of motor belts, windshield wiper blades and car doors.
Even tire traction is compromised due to the cold temperatures. All-season tires may also become hard and inflexible in these conditions due to the effects of cold temperatures on rubber products. This is why it’s important to use winter tires during cold weather. Otherwise, you may cause premature wear and tear on your tires.
How Cold Weather Affects Your Vehicle Wiper Blades
Cold weather can make your wiper blades stiffer and less effective. While they may work to some extent, they won’t clear your windshield effectively. To avoid this, you can try using this de-icer to melt the layer of snow on your windshield. Another option is to use an ice scraper to scrape off any ice on your windscreen.