Managing the impact of extreme cold on your car: Care and prevention tips

Managing the impact of extreme cold on your car: Care and prevention tips.

Extreme temperatures during the Quebec winter can impact the performance of your vehicle. Follow our advice to protect it from the cold!

Quebec is notorious for frigid and extreme winter weather conditions. As a result, winter can be hard on residents—and their vehicles. When the mercury drops, it’s important to take steps to protect your vehicle and keep it running smoothly. This article lays out the best practices for maintaining your vehicle during the winter to help you prevent common problems and avoid common mistakes. Follow this advice to keep your car safe and extend its life even in the extreme cold of Quebec.

How does the cold affect cars?

How cold weather impacts engine and battery performance

When temperatures drop, the engine and battery are the first parts of your vehicle that will be affected. Cold weather can significantly decrease the performance of your car’s battery, diminishing its ability to supply the energy needed to start the engine. Low temperatures also cause engine oil to thicken, which makes starting the engine more difficult and causes more wear over the long term.

To protect your engine in winter, it’s essential to use a low-temperature oil with a viscosity suitable for winter conditions. You should also make sure your battery is in good condition. Having it inspected by a professional before winter arrives can prevent a host of issues.

The importance of vehicle fluids during the winter

In addition to the engine oil, your vehicle’s other fluids also require special attention during the winter months. Antifreeze, an essential component of coolant, plays a major role in preventing your engine from freezing and needs to be kept at the correct level and concentration to withstand low temperatures. We recommend that you regularly check your vehicle’s antifreeze level and replace or top up the fluid as needed to keep your engine protected.

Intense cold can also affect other fluids, such as brake fluid and transmission fluid. Both are critical for your vehicle’s safety and performance. Checking and refilling these fluids before winter arrives is vital to keeping your car running at its best in extremely cold conditions. To keep your car in top condition throughout Quebec winters, we recommend performing regular maintenance on your vehicle and having it serviced by a professional.

You may also want to use a de-icing windshield washer fluid. This type of fluid is specially designed to resist freezing and provide clear visibility and enhanced safety when you’re driving in harsh winter conditions. By taking these factors into account, you will not only safeguard your car’s mechanics, but also keep yourself and your passengers safer during the colder months.

How does cold weather affect tires?

Preventing pressure loss in the winter

Severe cold can have a significant impact on tire pressure. Low temperatures cause tire pressure to drop, which can lead to underinflation. Not only is driving on an underinflated tire dangerous—it also increases fuel consumption and accelerates wear. That’s why it’s important to regularly check your tire pressure during the winter, as directed by your vehicle’s manufacturer.

Tips for keeping your tires in good shape over the winter

There’s more to winter tire maintenance than checking your tire pressure. It’s also important to make sure that the rubber doesn’t have any cracks or damage from the cold. In addition, you should regularly inspect your tires to ensure that they have enough tread depth for optimum grip on winter roads. If your tires are in poor condition, you should replace them promptly to keep yourself safe on the road.

If you follow all these tips, you’ll not only enhance the safety of your vehicle, but also extend the life of your tires during the winter.

Tips for protecting your car from extreme cold

Protecting your car in subzero temperatures

It’s important to take preventive measures and prepare your car for Quebec’s harsh winters. One simple solution is to use a car cover, especially if you park outside. This helps protect your car’s paintwork and exterior parts from the elements and the cold.

Another popular option is to put up a Tempo shelter. These temporary structures offer reliable protection against snow and frost and are a practical alternative if you don’t have a garage. Parking your car under a Tempo shelter or in a garage can considerably reduce its exposure to severe winter conditions, cut down on the time you spend shoveling, and make it easier to start your car on icy mornings.

De-icing and heating system maintenance

Thoroughly de-icing your car windows, windshield, and side mirrors is critical for clear visibility. Be sure to use a purpose-built scraper to clear ice and snow from your vehicle. Don’t pour hot water on your windshield, as this can cause the glass to crack due to thermal shock.

In addition, make sure your heating and defogging system is working properly to prevent fog and ice from forming inside your vehicle. A faulty heating system will not only leave you feeling chilly, but also possibly prevent your windshield from fully defogging, impeding visibility.

What mistakes should you avoid to keep your car running smoothly in the winter?

Some bad winter habits can be damaging to your car. You should avoid letting your car idle for extended periods, as this can increase fuel consumption and engine wear. If your doors are frozen shut, don’t force them open, or you may damage the seals or other door components. Finally, inspect and replace your wiper blades regularly to make sure they can stand up to rain and snow.

Winters in Quebec present unique challenges for vehicle owners. By following these tips, you’ll not only keep your car in better condition, but also enjoy a safer and more comfortable driving experience during the colder months. Remember, prevention is key: regular maintenance and inspections can save you from unforeseen problems and expenses. Be prepared and drive safely this winter!

Frequently asked questions about the impact of very low temperatures on cars

To start your car in very cold weather, make sure the battery is in good condition and has enough charge. If possible, keep your vehicle in the garage to protect it from the cold. Use your remote starter if you have one. Avoid idling your vehicle longer than necessary to warm it up.

You can apply a specially formulated lubricant or antifreeze to your vehicle’s locks to prevent them from freezing.

Yes. While nitrogen-filled tires are less susceptible to pressure variations due to temperature changes, cold weather can still cause them to lose pressure. It’s important to regularly check your tire pressure during the winter months, even if your tires are filled with nitrogen.

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Traction - dry road

Dry-road traction is a tire's ability to brake effectively and respond well to the steering wheel on dry roads.

Traction - wet road

Wet traction is a tire's resistance to hydroplaning and its ability to provide safe driving in wet conditions.

Traction - snowy road

Snow-covered road traction is a tire's ability to operate on partially or completely snow-covered pavement.

Traction - icy road

Ice traction is a tire's ability to operate on partially or completely ice-covered pavement.


Durability refers to how many kilometres a tire can go before it stops performing.


Comfort refers to the ride quality of a tire and the noise it emits on the road.