Cold weather is here and your car's engine doesn't like it. Prepare for it, take your vehicle to experts and most of all, make sure you aren't left on the road freezing without a blanket.
The Black Ice Monday, as it is being named throughout Europe, is just the first day of a week that is expected to deliver a lot of snow to your doorstep. As public transports will likely have more delay than usual you will tend to drive yourself and your family even more, which means your car will be put to the test in dangerous conditions. Here are the most important things that you should do / check just so that your vehicle doesn’t get stuck on the side of the road and creates even more traffic, or worse, more accidents.
Experts from insurance companies predicted this day to have record-breaking breakdowns due to the extreme weather conditions, thus being called Black Ice Monday, and if you want to be on the right side of statistics for the rest of the snowing season, then you should follow all these preventive measures:
Check your battery: Know what you can about it. The older one gets, the more it will suffer under very low temperatures and the higher the risk of going flat will be. The key number to learn here is the CCA - Cold Cranking Amps. The CCA is a rating used to define a battery's ability to start an engine in cold temperatures and the greater it is, the better chance your car has to survive freezing cold days. Also important, keep your battery charged! Weak batteries will start to freeze as the thermometer goes below 0 whereas one in optimal state only freezes at a ridiculously low temperature of -60º C.
- Use a multi-weight oil: The issue here is that oil gets thicker the more the temperatures drop, so a single weight oil does not have different viscosity levels for warm and cold weather. The thicker the oil is, the higher amount of electricity will be needed to start your engine. Generally you would want to use an oil that has two viscosity levels like XX W - XX, where the W stands for Winter.
Don’t forget that any deposit that contains water in your car can quickly freeze. If there is water in the fuel lines, it might block your car from even starting.
Bring jump start cables with you if can. If your battery indeed goes flat, this is the fastest way you will get it going again. You may even be able to get helped by someone driving by before car service can get through the traffic to serve you.
A shovel in your trunk won’t hurt and will be extremely useful if your tyres lead you off the road and you get stuck. Also you never know how you will find your vehicle if you park it outside. If you still have some spare space, a fuel can might be the difference between spending two hours out there or a whole day.
This goes almost without saying but be prepared to endure a long wait in the cold if your car does break, so no shame in taking some blankets with you.