Cold weather can cause big problems for your car

By James Peters
December 14, 2016 - 11:26am

KAMLOOPS — The cold weather may be more than a little unpleasant for people, but can be downright damaging to your automobile.

Al Mulford is the service manager at Zimmer Wheaton GM.

He says common complaints from customers this time of year revolve around problems that could have been prevented.

"We see lots of people who haven't maintained their cooling systems. They come in with complaints of not enough heat inside, only to find out they haven't checked their coolant, haven't checked their coolant level. We see people coming in with their tire pressure warning light on, because again they haven't checked the tire pressure. When it's cold out, the tire pressure will reduce."

"We live in Kamloops, a dry area, and we've got a lot of people who don't check their wiper blades. They go to clear the windshield and their windshield washer fluid is frozen. They haven't put the proper washer fluid in, so they're still using their summer washer fluid. Their wiper blades are all ripped and torn, they can't see."

Mulford says if your vehicle has spent the night outside, it's important to let it warm up before you put in gear, so the oil has a chance to circulate.

"For most of the new oils now, the viscosity is good. But still, you want to let that oil warm up a little bit to get it up and circulating. Otherwise, it doesn't lubricate, which can cause some pretty catastrophic failures."

He adds, when the weather is this cold, it's not a bad idea to plug in the block heater.

"Most of the new GM products now have a thermistor in the block heater cord to be environmentally friendly and not use a lot of power when it's not needed. So they have a thermistor and the block heater won't even turn on until -18 degrees Celsius. So you can plug it in, and if it doesn't get below -18, you're not drawing any current."

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