If you thought that you were the only one battling the cold this July...you were wrong! Our cars are affected by changes in weather and need different care in different conditions. We asked our in-house Carhoot Expert Ron , how cold is too cold for cars, and if our generally warm "African winter" should necessitate a change in how we regularly go about our car care. Generally, during the dry months of June, July and August temperatures in most areas in Kenya range between highs of 23 degrees Celcious during the daytime and lows on 10 degrees Celcious in the morning hours. Lucky for us, we don't have to worry about things like snow, but we may notice our cars "acting up" after a cold lonely night in the parking.
1. Starting Your Car
Ron says that cars struggle to start up during cold weather because of three main reasons. Drops in temperature will cause your engine oil to thicken and this will increase friction, making it harder for your engine to do its job. Cold can also affect the exothermic chemical reactions produced by your battery, resulting in lower power output. The last case scenario is if your fuel lines have moisture, in really cold weather, this moisture can freeze and lead to blockage, which can prevent the engine from starting. Lucky for us, this may not happen but people living in extra cold areas such as Mt.Kenya region and Limuru should be cautious, especially if you do not have the luxury of a sheltered parking area, and are prone to leaving your car outside.
Turn everything off before you exit your vehicle.
Any electrical accessories including the radio, headlights, heater, and even your phone charger use up battery power. By turning them off before you start your car, you’re giving your battery the extra boost it may need to get the engine started. Once started, allow the engine to run giving time for the alternator to charge before using any accessories, to reduce the risk of draining the battery.
Warm Your Car
Pay attention to your car sounds. If your car engine sounds like it wants to start but is having a bit of trouble. Take a few minutes to warm up your car and allow the engine oil to become less thick and properly move around the engine. Using the right oil also helps alot!
Fill up your fuel tank.
Because fuel doesn't freeze easily, even in extremely low temperatures, having a full tank can save you the heartache of fuel blockages. Keeping your car with at least half a full tank of petrol at all times should do the trick.
2. Deflated Tires
Let's take a trip down memory lane and visit our primary Science class for a bit. We all know that matter expands and contracts depending on changes in temperature. When the temperature drops, expecially in the early morning hours, the air in our tires contracts, making them underinflated due to low pressure.
Vigilantly Check Your Tires
Be cautious and check your tires at least once a week. Make sure you know your recommended maufacturer tire pressure and ensure that your tires are at the right pressure.
3. Dead Battery
Its funny how most people don't pay attention to their batteries until a problem arises. Cold can affect the exothermic chemical reactions produced by your battery, resulting in lower power output.
Check the battery and connections.
If your car battery appears to have signs of corrosion, use a soft cloth or toothbrush to clean the affected area. After you have finished, make sure that all the cables and clamps are tigght, If you need help testing out your battery, don't hesitate to give us a call.
Get a jump start.
If after trying all of the above and your vehicle still struggles to start, you may need a jump start. At this point, whether you’re able to start your vehicle by with the jump or not, open your Carhoot mobile app and make a request or call our direct service number (0720039039). We will help determine why your car is struggling to startup.