What Happens to Your Car Fluids in Winter?

November 16th, 2017 by

Windshield Wiper Fluid

BMW is synonymous with luxury, so it’s no surprise that BMW drivers tend to take care of their cars. Our customers are always looking for tips when it comes to keeping their vehicles looking good and running smoothly. This is easy enough in nice weather, but the onset of winter brings its own unique challenges to vehicle maintenance. That’s why we’ve put together this list of problems you might experience with your car’s fluids in winter. With some preparation, you can avoid these problems altogether.

Oil Viscosity

As the seasons change and air temperature gets colder, the liquids in your car can become thicker and more sluggish, or higher in viscosity. Oil and transmission fluid are two vehicle fluids that are susceptible to this problem. Trying to operate a vehicle in this condition can damage internal seals by attempting to force liquid through them when it is too thick to pass through.

Experts recommend undergoing an oil change before winter arrives, as well as running your car for 10 or 15 minutes before driving in order to allow the fluids to heat up and thin out. A remote-start system is a great way to warm your car up before you’re ready to hit the road.

Windshield Wiper Fluid

In extremely cold weather, windshield wiper fluid can actually freeze. This can be very dangerous if you’re driving while it happens, as the sudden inability to clean your windshield of ice and snow will drastically reduce your visibility.

If this happens to you, the best thing to do is allow the fluid to reheat gradually (don’t attempt to pour hot water on the nozzles, as this can crack the glass windshield). Try parking your vehicle in a warm garage or using a hairdryer on the reservoir and hoses. Of course, you should also choose the best wiper fluid to prevent this from happening in the first place. Look for bottles marked as “winter solution” or an antifreeze wiper fluid.

Engine Coolant and Antifreeze

Engine coolant is a water-based liquid that, as its name suggests, cools the engine by absorbing some of the heat that it generates while running. In normal operation, engine coolant is moved to the radiator to be cooled further, so that the liquid itself doesn’t overheat. But in cold temperatures, engine coolant can actually freeze and damage the engine.

That’s why it’s important to have the right amount of antifreeze mixed into your engine coolant. As winter approaches, it’s a good idea to obtain an inexpensive kit to check your coolant levels and add antifreeze if necessary.

Driving in the snow and ice is challenging enough without having to worry about whether you’ll run into any mechanical problems with your vehicle as a result of freezing temperatures. By taking a few simple precautionary steps, you can help ensure that your BMW will operate smoothly even in the worst weather that winter has to offer. For more tips, or to find the right all-season vehicle for you, get in touch with us at Rallye BMW today.

Posted in Service