How to Avoid Common Breakdowns in Winter
According to data from the Royal Automobile Club of Spain, in winter car breakdowns increase by up to 15% compared to the rest of the seasons of the year. But what are the most common breakdowns in winter? We review below the breakdowns and the simple and good practices to avoid them.
Faults in the electrical system and batteries
First of all, the most frequent breakdowns in the winter season are electrical ones, related to batteries, heaters, alternators and starters. With the low temperatures we have in winter, batteries tend to lose some charge capacity, depending on the age of the battery. In the case of new or old batteries, the problem is usually not noticeable beyond a slightly longer start when we turn the key. In the case of batteries with a certain age, about 4-5 years old, in winter they die completely, because if they were already “spent” the cold has just finished them off, losing the little load capacity that they still had. This, added to higher electrical consumption of the vehicle (lights, fog lamps, cleaners, heating, heaters, etc.) makes the batteries the weakest in winter.
Diesel vehicles and heaters
On the other hand, we have the heaters in indirect injection Diesel vehicles. The glow plugs or glow plugs are activated for a few seconds to warm the fuel and facilitate cold starting. In winter, the heating time calmly increases to double or triple, a fact that drastically reduces the useful life of the heaters and if they were already used frequently, the most normal thing will be that between the months of November and March they will end up dying. altogether.
Importance of alternators and their brushes
We also have problems in the alternators. The alternator is responsible for c argar the battery during operation of the engine. As we said, batteries are the ones that suffer the most in terms of cold discharge, which is why alternators must work more and more frequently than in good weather seasons. This fact causes the alternator regulating diodes to melt, with which the alternator will be unable to transform alternating current to direct current, preventing the battery from charging. The alternator brushes must also be taken into account, in constant friction with the magnetic pole axis. The fact that the alternators work more and more often causes an over-wear on the brushes, which although they do not have to fail, if they are very worn this factor has just finished off them, with which the alternator totally loses its capacity. charging and current regulation.
The starters are other big sufferers winter. The starter motors do not work very well, only when the vehicle is started. But in winter it is cold, a fact that causes the contraction of the materials and a higher viscosity of the engine lubricants, so that the starter or demarré motor has to make an extra effort to get the heat engine to turn with enough ease to cause startup. In addition, like alternators, the brushes suffer extra wear, although in this case, due to sparking of the contacts, having to make an extra effort to move the crankshaft.
The heating system should be checked
We also take into account the breakdowns of the heating system. In winter it is when the heating and the interior fan are used the most, so with this extra use they have more numbers of suffering failures. In addition, since the heating is not usually used in the rest of the year, the hot air / cold air mixing flaps do not move throughout the year except in winter, and that is when the control cables of the flaps can break when remaining These are stiff from little use during the year.
Elements exposed to meteorology
The lights and windshield wiper blades also tend to fall more frequently in winter, since increasing their use in all conditions also limits the useful life of these elements.
Likewise, and although it does not happen directly in winter, it does. The corrosion body by road salt. As there are frosts and snow in many parts of the geography, added with the ambient humidity, the salt or salty humidity gets into any corner of the vehicle, which in the long term can lead to extensive corrosion, especially on the underside of the vehicle and the wheel arches or fenders.
Spare fuses, always in the glove compartment
It is also very common to replace several fuses during the winter season. Although it is not a serious problem if it is very annoying. The increased use of the vehicle’s electrical system leads to an overload in the car’s fuse and relay boxes, so they can blow due to excess current or temperature overload.
Cold, ally of fluids
On the other hand we have fluid leaks. The most frequent are usually Diesel injection pumps, which when the cold arrives are put to waste by any of the pump gaskets, either in small or large quantities. The cold contracts the materials (steel, aluminum, rubber…) and causes the sealing of the injection pump to be lost. If we add a poor tightness due to contraction plus the internal pressure of the pump, we have the perfect combination to lose diesel to a greater or lesser extent.
Ice and frost can damage locks
Also, although less frequently, door locks and key cylinder breakages are common . Moisture seeps in everywhere, and if temperatures drop below zero degrees, this moisture turns into frost or ice if it accumulates sufficiently. This makes the locks and bowlers stick and we, by forcing it, break it. It is preferable to wait a while or look to warm it up in some way.
As can be seen, the truth is that many of these breakdowns can be avoided with proper preventive maintenance of the vehicle, although the weather conditions during winter tend to vary considerably.
In any case, from Flipupdates we recommend you visit the nearest official workshop or service to check that all these commented systems are in optimal condition, carry out preventive replacement if there are signs of possible breakdown and, in short, be able to continue driving the vehicle without haste. rest of the winter season.