There are three Car Concerns you should have with your car and a deep freeze.
The first is Antifreeze
How old is your car’s antifreeze? Old or weak antifreeze is as bad as no antifreeze at all. Both car manufacturers and antifreeze manufacturers recommend changing your car’s antifreeze every two years. One night of below freezing may not have a big effect on old or weak antifreeze, but 3 or more days below freezing will definitely have an effect and can cause expensive damage. Like water pump failure, cracking hoses, or rupturing radiators. It can also cause severe damage like cracking internal engine gaskets or even cracking your engine block. Antifreeze IS the number one deep freeze car concern. The best rule of thumb is if you’re not sure, then it’s time to have it changed.
The Next is Tires
Cold has a big effect on tires! Freezing weather even a bigger effect. Cold causes the air in your tires to contract, just like we studied in junior high school science. You can lose as much as 5 to 7 pounds of air pressure if it gets cold enough, and when your tire uses 28 to 32 pounds of pressure 5 to 7 pounds is a lot! The problem is once the tire warms back up the air does not expand and come back to proper tire pressure. It’s important to check your tire pressure regularly and even more in cold conditions.
Cold tire air and low tire pressure will cause a couple of problems. First, it causes excessive uneven wear to the tire, shortening its life. Second, cold air, especially freezing air stiffens the tire. Most modern tire rubber can handle the extreme cold and extremely hot, BUT what cannot are the bands or steel belts inside the tire that holds the rubber together. When the belt inside the tire freezes and you begin driving, it can crack or break the belt. This then causes the tire to no longer be round and can even cause the tire to separate. Perhaps you’ve had or heard of having a “busted belt in the tire”. These are the types of conditions that cause this problem. Keeping proper tire pressure improves your chances of this not happening.
Car Concerns and a Deep Freeze: Newer model cars also have another concern. Especially cars with TPMS ( Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems ) Some TPMS systems do no more than cause just another light to come on the dash. Some TPMS systems do much more; they send information to the cars computer system having an effect on the steering system, the brake system, the ABS brake system, and even traction control. With these model cars, it is very important to keep your tires in good shape and properly inflated at all times, because it DOES affect more than just tires!
Another problem we see a lot of is that most late-model cars now come with fancy Aluminum wheels and low profile or “skinny tires”. When these tires get low on tire pressure the effect usually ends up damaging a very expensive tire AND aluminum wheel.
Your best rule when it comes to tire pressure is getting your tire air pressure checked once a month. Proper tire pressure is important; it keeps you and your family safe and saves you money. Face it, tires and wheels are getting more expensive and proper care WILL make them last much longer.
And Finally, There are Windshield Wipers
I’m quite sure that after the freeze we’ve had this week you’ve seen some wear on the old wiper blades. YES, your wiper blade does freeze! And what do we do? It’s the first thing we break loose when there is ice on the windshield. Hey, that’s alright, it’s a necessity but replace them. They serve a purpose and keeping good wiper blades is important to being able to drive and keeping your windshield from becoming scratched up. Wiper blades are probably one of the best investments you can make.
And don’t forget to keep your oil changed and full – especially in cold weather!!