How the Cold Weather Might Affect Your Car

Winter is upon us and it could be a nightmare if you need to drive on frozen roads. Snow fall and freezing temperatures can affect your vehicle in several ways. Here’s list of the vehicle components that might get affected by extreme cold weather.

The battery

Extreme cold temperatures can drain your car battery completely. A normal battery can last for about 2 to 3 years, but cold weather has the ability to kill your battery much sooner. Keeping your car in a garage will ensure good health for the battery. Giving proper attention to battery care and maintenance will also ensure long life for your vehicle’s battery, while making sure that your car starts every time you turn on the ignition, says an article by Certified Auto Mall Towing & Recovery.

Fuel and other fluids

Studies have shown that your car’s engine takes longer to reach its maximum fuel efficiency in cold weather, which affects the fuel economy, says an article by Acccuweather. It takes more time to heat up, especially in the mornings. Generally, when the temperature drops, the fluid thickens, which makes it harder for the various car fluids to flow smoothly, reducing the speed and efficiency of your vehicle. So, check all the fluids in your vehicle, including oil, power steering, transmission fluids, antifreeze, etc., on a regular basis in winter.

Tires

Tires contract in the cold, which reduces their traction. Tire pressure also gets affected when the temperature changes. Tire pressure can affect the durability, reliability and friction of your tires, making it harder to drive in snowy conditions, says an article on The Telegraph. So, if you live in a cold region, choose winter tires or snow tires over all-season ones, since the former have treaded patterns that increase friction. If you don’t know how to identify a winter tire, just look for a mountain and snow flake icon on the side walls of the tire. Make sure you check the monitor light for tire pressure, before you go for a drive.

Spark plugs

A clogged filter, defective spark plugs or bad ignition component can cause your car not to start. As the temperature drops, it will be harder for you to start your engine and will directly affect its reliability. Make sure you have high quality spark plugs to bear extreme weather conditions.

Along with checking your car components, make sure you are driving slow and choosing the shortest and safest route while on icy roads.

Locked Out of Your Car? Here’s What You Can Do.

There is nothing quite like that heart sinking feeling you get when you realize you have locked yourself out of your vehicle. While car lockouts are a minor inconvenience when you are at home, they can quickly turn into an emergency situation when you are in an unsafe area or if the situation involves kids or pets. Be sure that you and every driver in your family know these strategies to handle a vehicle lockout the right way.

Double Check the Locks

When the driver’s side door refuses to open, your first instinct is to panic. However, one of the most common mistakes that we run across is a person failing to realize that another door is unlocked. Be sure to check each door on the vehicle, and remember to try the trunk as well. Many trunks have open access into the backseat that allow you to open the door from the inside and retrieve your keys.

Assess Your Safety

Vehicle lockouts tend to happen when you are distracted or in an unfamiliar area. Once you know for sure that you cannot get into your car, your next step is to make sure that you are safe. Criminals are adept at recognizing a person in distress, so remain calm and make yourself less of a target. For instance, you may need to leave your shopping bags behind the counter of the retail store you just left, or you might need to sit inside of a restaurant while you wait for one of our certified auto repair technicians to arrive and unlock your car.

Contact a Loved One

After ensuring your safety, reach out to someone that you know to let them know where you are and what has happened. You may also ask your spouse or roommate if they have a spare key or know how to locate one for your vehicle. If not, simply knowing that someone knows where you are while you wait for help to arrive is reassuring during a stressful situation.

Avoid DIY Methods

When you are under duress, you may be tempted to try anything to get into your vehicle. However, the majority of modern car door locks are designed to be difficult to open. You can also do more harm than good by trying common DIY methods that involve coat hangers or window wedges, and doing one of these methods wrong can lead to a need for repairs at our auto service center. Instead, call for a professional to provide you with lockout assistance that preserves your vehicle.

Report Emergency Situations

For parents and pet owners, car lockouts can turn into life-threatening incidents. While you should also take steps to prevent locking kids in the car, accidents sometimes happen. If your car lockout involves a child and you believe that they are in danger, be sure to call your local emergency authorities and let our technicians know about the situation. This way, you can ensure that your pet or child is rescued as fast as possible.

When you realize your keys are locked inside of your car, don’t panic. Instead, keep the number to our tow and recovery company programmed into your phone so that you can quickly receive help with car lockouts at any time of day or night.</p

What Should You Do if Your Car Breaks Down on the Highway

A roadside breakdown on a highway is an emergency situation that every driver fears. While you should always do your best to avoid a breakdown by keeping up with routine maintenance, the truth is that all it takes is one broken hose or flat tire to leave you stuck on the side of the road. If a breakdown happens, then don’t panic. You can follow these steps to stay safe while you wait for the towing and recovery service.

Find a Safe Place to Park

In most cases, you should have enough time to get your car to the side of the road. At the first sign of trouble, turn on the hazard flashers and maneuver your car to a safe place to park. If possible, try to stay with the flow of traffic until you have made it to the shoulder. Ideally, the parking space should be located in an area that is easily accessible to the recovery truck.

Stay in Your Vehicle

Once you park your car, avoid the temptation to get out of the vehicle. Unfortunately, other drivers may not realize that you are pulled over on the side of the road or slick conditions could cause them to run into you. You are safest in your car with the seatbelt fastened and the doors locked, so try to remain in this position until the tow crew arrives. If you must get out of your vehicle such as to put out an engine fire, then exit through the door that is the furthest away from the road.

Alert Others to Your Distress

Your next step is to increase the visibility of your car to other drivers on the road. Keep the hazard flashers on, and turn on the interior dome light to make it easier to see your car. You can also use items from your roadside emergency kit to increase visibility. For instance, flares or reflectors can be placed on the street around your vehicle so that other drivers notice your presence.

Avoid Accepting Help From Strangers

The world is full of kind people, and you may discover that other drivers stop to offer their assistance. While this is always a sweet gesture, you must keep in mind that your safety is a priority. If you must speak to someone who stops, then roll your window down just enough to communicate. Then, let them know that you have already called for help to be on the way. This also ensures that only a reputable auto repair company works on your car so that a well-meaning person does not create bigger problems with a faulty repair.

Call for Professional Assistance

The highway is not a safe place to perform major car repairs. For this reason, it is always best to arrange for a towing and recovery service to transport your car to the repair shop. There, proper repairs can be made so that you can avoid having another roadside catastrophe happen.

The realization that your car is breaking down is enough to send anyone into a panic. Fortunately, you now know exactly how to handle every driver’s worst nightmare. By staying calm, keeping safe and calling for help, you can quickly get your car back into good operating condition.