Common Car Problems In Winter And How To Solve Them

Cars and cold don’t mix! Winter is easily the busiest time of the year for us at Scrap Local.

We see a significant rise in enquiries to scrap cars during the winter months as vehicles stop working, breakdown or are involved in accidents due to cold weather conditions.

In this guide, we’ve listed the most common car problems in winter which could send your old motor to the scrap heap and how to avoid them!

Why Do Cars Breakdown In The Winter?

Winter car problems range from issues with the fuel intake, like faulty pumps and fuel injectors, to electrical problems with locking systems.

The AA on Winter Breakdowns

Due to cooler temperatures and poor weather conditions, some vehicles are more prone to breakdown in winter.

Major parts which allow your car to function normally can be negatively impacted by the cold. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Car battery
  • Engine
  • Windscreen wipers
  • Tyres

It’s your responsibility to ensure that your vehicle is safe to drive on UK roads and has passed its MOT in accordance with the latest guidelines. 

If you come across the problems we’ve listed below, then you will either need to repair them with a reliable garage or scrap your car.

Scrap Local can help you do the latter of these!

If your old set of wheels is beyond repair due to winter conditions, then submit an enquiry to scrap your car by clicking the green button below.

The Most Common Car Problems In Winter

Here we have listed the most common car problems you’ll encounter in the winter and the steps you can take to resolve them or prevent them from happening.

Is your car struggling to start? It’s likely to be a battery issue!

According to AXA, vehicles are 51% more likely to have battery problems in the winter.

Cold temperatures negatively affect car batteries as they can reduce its ability to transfer full power to the vehicle.

This problem becomes worse when motorists try to provide power to their headlights and heating systems before setting off on a journey.

What You Should Do:

If your car is struggling to get going, try turning off your electrics before turning and holding the key to your ignition for 10 seconds.

For a manual vehicle you should also dip the clutch before turning the key.

To reduce the chances of this problem occurring the next day, switch off your headlights and heating system before turning off your engine and locking your car up for the night.

The engine is crucial to your car and any issues with this part can be fatal to yourself and other road users if left unchecked.

When your engine is cold, the fuel injectors will send more fuel through the system to get it to turn over faster.

What You Should Do:

Try leaving your car running to stabalise the engine prior to setting off. Heaters will take any heat away from your engine, so don’t turn them on immediately when starting your car.

If you hear a screaming noise when you start your vehicle and see or smell smoke, stop in a safe place and check your vehicle’s engine.

You should also check your engine if it’s warning light appears on your vehicle’s dashboard. Slow down, stop in a safe place, turn off your engine and call for help from a recovery agent if this happens.

A car which stops and starts is as dangerous as it is frustrating!

If your vehicle cuts out on a busy or fast-paced road due to cold weather conditions, then you could put yourself and others at risk.

According to AXA, motorists are 27% more likely to have a cut out in winter.

What You Should Do

To prevent this issue, make sure that your fuel is topped up and that the air filter is cleaned regularly.

Liquids and cold temperatures don’t mix!

Fluids underneath your vehicle’s bonnet can freeze in cold weather and can cause damage to your car if left unchecked.

Typically your screen wash fluid and antifreeze will be impacted by winter temperatures.

What You Should Do

It’s a good idea to monitor all of the fluids in your vehicle to ensure that your car or van runs safely.

Make sure that you’ve topped up your fluids with a mix that will stay as liquid even in the coldest weather conditions.

If your wipers are frozen to the screen, then you could find yourself in a lot of trouble.

Did you know you could fail your MOT for faulty windscreen wipers?

According to the Department for Transport, every vehicle is legally required to have one or more efficient automatic windscreen wipers.

Unless the driver can gain an adequate view of the road without looking through the windscreen, then they shouldn’t drive a vehicle with frozen or broken wipers.

What You Should Do

Before starting your car, you should make sure that your automatic wipers are turned off. This will prevent you from breaking or damaging windscreen wipers which are frozen.

You should also free up your wipers when you scrape your vehicle’s windows from snow and frost.

To prevent this problem altogether you should use a frost guard or windscreen shield. By tucking these under your wipers you can prevent them from freezing to the screen during the night.

Lower temperatures lead to lower tyre pressures. During winter you will need to keep a close eye on your wheels and inflate your tyres when necessary.

Underinflated tyres have a looser grip on UK roads and this will make your car harder to handle.

Low tyre pressure is dangerous in normal weather conditions, however on icy roads it’s even more so.

Even if you have checked the pressure of each of your tyres, they are bound to lose their pressure due to the temperature.

What You Should Do

The best time to check your tyre pressure is when it’s cold. You should do this every fortnight at least.

Whilst driving you need to be mindful of kerbs, bumps in the road and potholes as these can wear your tyres down

Potholes, debris from the road and a host of other hazards can cause vehicle parts to corrode and break.

In winter this problem is intensified as harsh temperatures and salt used to grit roads can corrode metal and cause damage to important parts such as the brakes and engine.

What You Should Do

Maintenance is key here! Servicing your vehicle with a reputable garage should resolve any of these issues.

Slippery road surfaces can cause your wheels to spin and your vehicle to skid. This can be dangerous to both yourself and other road users.

What You Should Do

If possible, avoid driving during icy conditions.

If you find that you have to drive on icy roads, then keep your speed down and use the highest gear possible. This reduces the risk of your tyres losing their grip and spinning.

Make sure that you maintain a 10 second gap from the motorists in front of you. The time it takes to stop your car in icy conditions increases due to diminished tyre grip.

Finally, you should accelerate and brake gently whilst driving to avoid wheelspin during the winter.

Overall, you should ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy regardless of the conditions you plan to drive it in.

As a general rule of thumb, you should always check to see if your vehicle is worthy to pass an MOT.

After all, if your car’s safe to pass its MOT, then it should be safe to drive in different weather conditions.

You can view our top tips on how to pass an MOT by clicking the button below.

Why Do More Car Accidents Happen In Winter?

Understandably, mechanical faults caused by cooler temperatures and slippery roads can lead to more car accidents in the winter.

As a network of scrap yards, Scrap Local receives a significant amount of enquiries from customers looking to scrap cars during the winter.

We’ve heard it all and have scrapped cars which won’t start, have broken down due to snow and ice, and are too expensive to repair.

Scrapping a car has never been easier with us! We can collect end of life vehicles for free and can offer motorists genuine prices with no hidden fees to scrap them.

If your set of wheels has broken down due to the cold and is too much to repair, then submit a scrap enquiry to our auto specialists!

Have A Question?

Cooler temperatures, slippery surfaces and salt from gritted roads can cause a range of mechanical faults in vehicles.

Your vehicle’s engine, battery, wipers, tyres and fluids can all be negatively impacted by winter conditions.

Driving during this season can also prove hazardous as ice, slush and snow can lead to things like wheelspin.

You should check your vehicle thoroughly to avoid common car problems in the winter.

The main things you should check are:

  • Tyre pressure
  • Windscreen wipers
  • Fluid levels
  • Condition of metal parts
  • Engine
  • Battery

You can find out more about the most common car problems in winter and how to avoid them in this guide.

If the cost to repair your vehicle during the winter is too much, then your best option is to scrap it!

Scrap Local accepts a wide selection of end of life vehicles for scrap including winter breakdowns.

We offer our customers genuine scrap prices, don’t charge for admin fees and provide a free scrap car collection service.

If you’re looking to scrap your car this winter, then do so with Scrap Local!

You should do the following things to prepare your vehicle for winter:

  • Keep your fuel topped up.
  • Clean your air filter regularly.
  • Keep your fluids filled with a mix that stays liquid in cold conditions.
  • Scrape snow and frost from your vehicle’s front and rear windscreens.
  • Use a frost guard to protect your windscreen wipers.
  • Check your tyre pressure when cold and inflate them where necessary.
  • Start you car without turning on any electrics and keep it running for 10 seconds.

Scrap Local also recommends that you use our tips on how to pass an MOT as a guideline for checking the road-worthiness of your vehicle.

According to Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, you shouldn’t leave your vehicle stationary and idling.

This is a criminal offence and you could receive a £20 fixed penalty fine if caught.

The rules only apply to public roads so you won’t be breaking the law by idling on your drive or in a supermarket car park.

That being said, you don’t need to leave your engine idling for long in winter conditions.

Ideally, you should be able to leave it running for 10 seconds before setting off.

However, you should try to stay in your vehicle whilst idling as you could be penalised for not being in control of your car if you’re caught. This is also the case when de-icing your windscreens!

To check your antifreeze:

  • First, locate your coolant reservoir under your vehicle’s bonnet.
  • Wait for the pressure to release before removing the cap completely from your radiator.
  • Check to see if the level of antifreeze dips below the cold line.
  • Replace and refill your antifreeze if it’s below the cold line, is discoloured or has a clumpy consistency.

Make sure that you check your antifreeze when your car is cool for safety reasons.

Scrap Local

Scrap Local

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