Baby, It’s Cold Outside… Cold Temperatures and Vehicle Breakdowns

Cold and icy weather can heighten your risk of breaking down on the road, with 20% more breakdowns reported over the winter period than during the summer.
Here are some ways in which cold weather can affect vehicles.

Battery Performance

Cold weather can significantly reduce the performance of a vehicle's battery. The chemical reactions that occur within a battery tend to slow down in low temperatures, reducing its ability to provide power. This can lead to difficulties starting the engine, and in extreme cases, a completely dead battery.

Engine Oil Viscosity

Cold temperatures can cause engine oil to become thicker and more viscous, making it harder for the engine to turn over. This can result in increased wear on the engine components and reduced fuel efficiency.

Tyre Pressure

Cold weather can cause the air inside tyres to contract, leading to a decrease in tyre pressure. Underinflated tyres can affect vehicle handling, increase tyre wear and decrease fuel efficiency. It's important to regularly check and adjust tyre pressure during colder months.

Fuel System Issues

Cold temperatures can affect the fuel system, particularly in vehicles that use ethanol-blended fuels. It may cause water vapour in the fuel to freeze, leading to fuel line blockages or other issues.

Fluids Freezing

Various fluids in a vehicle, such as brake fluid and transmission fluid, can thicken or freeze in extremely cold temperatures, affecting their ability to function properly.

Starter Motor and Alternator Strain

The starter motor and alternator may experience increased strain in cold weather, potentially leading to malfunctions. This can result in difficulties starting the vehicle or issues with the electrical system.

Icy Roads and Reduced Traction

Cold temperatures often accompany icy road conditions. Reduced traction can lead to an increased risk of accidents, skidding and loss of control. It's important to drive cautiously and ensure that tyres are suitable for winter conditions.

Wiper and Washer Fluid Issues

Washer fluid can freeze in the reservoir or on the windscreen, and wiper blades may become stiff in cold weather, reducing visibility and making it more challenging to clear the windscreen.
To minimise the impact of cold temperatures on vehicle breakdowns, regular maintenance, ‘winterizing’ your vehicle and taking precautions such as using the right type of oil and keeping the battery in good condition are essential. Additionally, it's crucial to be prepared for winter driving conditions by keeping an emergency kit in your vehicle.

Other Blog you may be of interest

Safe Driving In Winter

Any questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact one of our team. Telephone: 01245 449 060

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