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6 common winter car repairs and how to avoid them

woman with engine broken down winter

Knowing how to treat your car during the harsh winter months is a great way to avoid expensive repairs.

Month-to-month vehicle service contracts (commonly known as an extended car warranty) can also help you avoid expensive bills when your car breaks down. A low monthly subscription can cover thousands of dollars in repairs.

This winter, pay special attention to these 6 parts of your car to avoid expensive bills.

Auto glass

Your auto glass includes your windshields and side view mirrors. When it’s cold outside but the inside temperature is hot, glass tends to expand/contract very quickly. These extreme temperature changes can result in damage to the glass. 

How to prevent expensive repairs: Take your time when removing snow and ice from your auto glass. Don’t just suddenly splash hot water on the windshield. Fill up a spray bottle with two parts rubbing alcohol and water, spray the mixture and use a scraper. If you use the defrost function in your car, be sure to warm up your car gradually.

Battery

Cold weather affects the chemical processes inside batteries. If you notice your car is taking longer to start or you’re hearing a whining noise when you turn the key in the ignition, you might be having battery trouble.

How to prevent expensive repairs: Have your battery tested at the start of winter to make sure it’s still in good condition. Do your best to park your car in a garage as often as you can throughout the winter.

Suspension

During the winter, the metal in certain parts of your car’s suspension can corrode and become brittle. When these parts weaken, they have a higher chance of breaking down as they absorb the shock of speed bumps and potholes. You could notice your car leaning to one side or feel a difference in the handling.

How to prevent expensive repairs: Regularly wash debris off your car’s undercarriage to prevent corrosion. Take your car to the repair shop if you notice any signs of trouble with your suspension. This is normally one of the most expensive car repairs.

Read our blog What does your car’s suspension do and what maintenance does it need?

Alternator

On a regular warm day, it takes around a 20 minute drive for your alternator to recharge the battery. In the winter, it takes longer. The belt that runs the alternator also becomes stiff in the cold. When your alternator is failing, you may notice dimmer lights on your dashboard. There may also be a squealing or screeching sound coming from the engine.

How to prevent expensive repairs: Be sure to park your car in the garage. Also, do your best to drive for a little bit longer in the cold mornings to keep the machine parts warm.

Thickened fluids

Oils and lubricants become more viscous in the winter time. Viscosity is the thickness of the fluid. This means that it will be a lot harder for the fluids to properly lubricate various parts of the car.

How to prevent expensive repairs: It’s a good idea to warm up your car before you drive off. Liquids like your motor oil, power steering fluid and brake fluid will flow a lot more smoothly if you do.

Note: Be sure to check all your fluids before the start of the winter season.

Tire damage

Cold temperatures will affect the durability and performance of your tires. The air will contract causing them to deflate and have low tire pressure. The cold can also make your tires lose traction and crack from impacting the ice cold road. This is because stiff rubber can easily tear apart.

How to prevent expensive repairs: Be sure to check your tire pressure often so that you’re not driving with underinflated tires. You may want to consider having winter tires installed as well. They are made of materials that are more soft and supple even in freezing temperatures.

Be prepared for future car repairs

There are some car repairs that you simply can’t avoid. Components can break down for various reasons and it’s important to be protected from a big expense. Comprehensive car repair coverage (also known as extended car warranties for used cars) takes away the stress and hassle of repairs. With just a low monthly subscription, you won’t pay out of pocket to repair or replace parts.

Uproar.car has created vehicle breakdown coverage that is simple, trustworthy and affordable. Transforming the extended car warranty marketplace through technology and transparency, Uproar.car offers a full suite of worry-free, no-haggle car care plans through low-cost, 100% online, monthly subscriptions that drivers can sign up for in less than five minutes. Get an instant quote today!