The containment and curfew brought on by the second wave of COVID-19 are creating even more problems for cars than during the first wave, for the simple reason that winter is in full swing right now.
In fact, CAA-Quebec recorded a 17% increase in requests for its Battery Assistance service compared to the previous winter. While vehicles spend much less time on the road, batteries sleep and suffer in the cold.
“It’s a bit like us! When you stay seated for too long, at one point, you need to move, ”illustrates Denis Pageau, advisor in relation to partners for CAA-Quebec recommended garages.
More specifically, what are the problems that may arise when a car is parked in the yard or drives too little, especially in winter? First, as just mentioned, the battery can weaken and lack power for starting the engine. Worse yet, a completely dead battery could deprogram the engine control module. Electric vehicles can of course quickly lose their charge too.
Then there is the humidity. Yes, even in winter, it can get stuck in different fluids, such as motor oil, or even cause the brakes to stick, develop rust and precipitate an expensive repair. Let us not forget either that the tires can deform or crack if they remain stationary for too long and exposed to extreme cold.
Photo: Adobe Stock
Here are 5 tips from CAA-Quebec for cars in confinement this winter:
No need to make a long trip; an 8 to 10 kilometer outing is enough to avoid most of the problems related to mechanics, brakes and the electrical system. Don’t just run the engine while your car is parked, either, as you won’t give the battery a chance to recharge while driving.
2. Use a smart charger
A smart charger can help you preserve the charge and good flow of electrons in your battery. It’s a small device that doesn’t cost much and can make a big difference. Also, avoid charging or boosting a damaged or frozen battery if the sides appear blistered.
Keep the gas tank three-quarters out to avoid condensation inside, which could cause the fuel lines to freeze. You should be especially careful when the temperature drops sharply. Cars that sleep in a heated garage are very good potential victims.
4. Watch out for the parking brake
Do not apply the parking brake at home, at least if it is possible and safe to do so. However, to keep it functional, use it when you go shopping and outdoors.
5. Schedule your top-ups
If you have an electric vehicle, the best thing to do is to leave it plugged in at all times and schedule your recharges. For more recommendations specific to your model, see the owner’s manual.
In the studio: Should we disconnect the battery during winter storage?