How Severe Cold Affects Your Car (& What To Do About It)

As the weather gets colder, you might notice your car doesn’t run quite as well as it typically does in the warmer months. This is because severe cold can affect your car in a variety of ways, potentially causing permanent damage.

Common cold weather problems


Frozen fuel lines

Throughout the year, condensation can form in the empty part of your fuel tank. While this usually isn’t a problem during the spring, summer, and fall, that condensation can freeze in the winter. This can ice up the fuel lines, and before you know it, your car won’t start.

To prevent this from happening, keep your fuel tank filled at least halfway through the winter. If your fuel lines are already frozen, you can either add some gas to the car to try to dispel the cold air and ice crystals (if your tank is low), or use fuel line antifreeze.

Thickening oil

If you live in a very cold environment, sometimes your oil can become thick during the winter. Your engine’s oil pump will then have trouble picking it up and circulating it.

A low viscosity oil will help prevent your oil from thickening. Before you purchase any low-viscosity oil, read your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Some may have recommendations for the right oil to use during the colder months.

Dead battery

Extreme cold puts your battery at risk of freezing or dying. A dead battery is easily fixed with jumper cables. To prevent a dead battery, we recommend replacing your battery if it is over three years old. Keep the connections clean and free from corrosion. If freezing is a consistent issue, you may want to consider purchasing a battery warmer.

Low tire pressure 

Low tire pressure is extremely common during the winter months. The air inside the tires contracts and condenses, making the pressure drop. Once your tire pressure light comes on, fill it as soon as possible. If the issue continues, you may have a leak in your tire.