Cars and lasting impact of extreme cold

Posted2/2/2019 6:01 AM

By Doug McAllister

You heard over and over again about the polar vortex this week, about the record cold and how dangerous it was.


If you used your car during those subzero days, you know firsthand how those super cold temperatures affected your vehicle:

• Slow starting

• Strange noises

• Extremely stiff suspension

• Very stiff steering

• Other unusual symptoms

What I want to share today is that you may not see the havoc the cold weather had on your vehicle for weeks to come.

Those extreme temperatures and then the rapid warm up may have weakened seals and gaskets that will begin leaking. The electrical system may have been stressed, shortening the life of the alternator, starter or battery. The stiff fluid in the shocks and struts may have pushed those over the edge and they may need changing before the summer driving season.

Be sure to have your air pressure checked in your tires that may have changed as a result of the radical temperature change.

Pay attention to your vehicle over the next several weeks. Listen for odd noises and look on the ground where you park it to be sure you are not leaking any kind of fluid. If you are at all unsure, get it in to your repair professional to have it checked.

I don't know about you but I am done with winter and looking forward to spring.

• Douglas Automotive is at 417 W. Main St., Barrington; 123 Virginia Road, Crystal Lake; and 416 Northwest Hwy., Fox River Grove. For information, visit Send questions to

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