13 Biggest Mistakes That Can Damage Your Car in Winter

Sometimes, when you’re in hurry to get to your work, you drive your car out thinking it’s ready for winter. Sorry, it’s not!

Winter with freezing mornings and slippery roads can damage your car, badly affecting its performance and longevity. The cold weather conditions and small mistakes in maintenance can do a big harm to your car and cost you thousands.

No need to worry! Your precious ride just needs some extra care!

We’ve provided a list of car-related errors you can make in the cold months, to help you avoid many winter car problems. So, let’s get started!

13 Common Mistakes to Avoid While Driving in Winter

1. Driving Too Fast / Speeding in Snow:


Speeding in winter can be dangerous because snowy or icy roads reduce visibility and braking ability.

Experts say that it takes a lot longer to stop on snowy or icy roads. If you drive too fast, it’s even harder to stop in time. Going too fast also makes it much more likely that you’ll lose control of your car on icy or slippery roads. So, it’s important to slow down and drive safely, especially in winter weather.

2. Ignoring to Clear the Ice and Snow from the Car Exterior:


Driving without clearing ice and snow from the exterior windows and mirrors before driving, is dangerous and can lead to an accident.

Because with icy or snowy windows, your visibility becomes extremely limited, increasing the risk of collisions with other vehicles or objects on the road.

It’s not just the outside of the car that needs attention, so don’t overlook the interior either.  You can turn on the AC (which works as a dehumidifier) and use it to clear foggy windows of your car for better visibility.

3. Appling Brakes Too Abruptly:


One common mistake drivers often make in winter is slamming on the brakes too suddenly. When you hit the brakes too hard, your car might skid off the road, possibly leading to a crash with another car or object.

Try to slow down gradually when you need to stop. Use the brakes gently and try not to use them too much. You can also prepare to stop early by easing off the gas pedal. If your car has a manual transmission, you can also downshift to slow down using the engine.

Additionally, leave enough space between your car and the one ahead. More distance will give you extra time to stop smoothly and avoid accidents.

4. Not Having Winter Tyres / Continuing Winters with Summer or All-Season Tyres:


Using regular tyres and not preparing your car for winter is a big mistake. Some people think all-season tyres work well in snow, but that’s not true. Snow tyres are specially made for winter driving.

They have a different design and material that helps grip the road better in cold weather. If you keep using regular tyres in winter, your car might slide around because they don’t have enough grip.

To stay safe on icy roads, it’s smart to switch to snow tyres. They have deeper treads that grab onto the road better, especially in snowy or icy conditions. When winter ends, you can switch back to your regular tyres.

5. Using Part-Time Four-Wheel Drive (FWD) on Dry Roadway:


Using part-time four-wheel drive on dry roads can be a mistake. While all-wheel drive (AWD) is fine for any road condition, part-time four-wheel drive should only be used on surfaces with low traction, like roads covered in deep snow.

The problem arises when drivers forget to switch back to two-wheel drive after the snow melts and the roads become clear. This can cause driveline windup, which is when the different parts of the drivetrain get twisted up due to the front and rear axles spinning at different speeds on dry pathways.

Driveline windup is risky because it can damage expensive components like differentials and transfer cases. It happens when the road doesn’t provide enough slip for the axles to spin freely, causing stress on the drivetrain.

6. Filling Up With Regular Water in Place of Windshield Washer Fluid:


Using regular water instead of windshield washer fluid is a mistake many people make. When the washer fluid runs low, some people fill it with water. This can cause the fluid to freeze, which can block the system.

Instead, it’s important to use the right windshield wiper fluid. There’s even a special winter blend that helps prevent freezing.

7. Driving with an Old or Bad Car Battery:


When it’s cold, your car’s battery has to work extra hard. If your battery is old or not in good condition, it might not start your car in the morning.

Replace car battery with a new one if needed to prevent problems in the winter.

8. Using Hot Water for Melting Ice from the Windshield:

Damage Your Car in Winter

Pouring boiling water on your frozen windshield might seem like a quick fix, but it can lead to bigger problems.

The drastic difference in temperature between the scalding water and the icy glass can cause the windshield to crack. When the hot water seeps into the cracks, it expands, potentially worsening the damage.

To avoid this headache, stick to the tried-and-true method, using an ice scraper to clear the ice from your windshield safely and effectively.

9. Warming up Your Car Excessively/ Warming the Car By Idling:


Spending too much time warming up your car by idling can cause problems. It might seem nice to get into a warm car on a cold morning, but letting your car idle for too long isn’t good. Engines aren’t meant to just sit and run without moving.

If you leave your car idling for too long, it can make the spark plugs dirty, which makes your car use more gas and can cost you more money.

10. Neglecting to Defrost the Locks and Handles:


When your door locks and handles are frozen, pouring hot water on them can break the parts inside. Instead, use a special spray you can buy at stores to melt the ice.

Just remember not to keep the spray inside your car. If you do, you’ll end up rushing to defrost your locks and handles, which might cause more damage.

11. Forgetting to Check Tire Pressure:


When the tyres aren’t filled properly, it’s harder to control your car. Over time, tyres naturally lose air, about 1 pound per square inch (psi) each month.

Additionally, for every 10 degrees the temperature drops, tyres lose another 1 psi. If you see that orange pressure warning light on your dashboard, don’t ignore it. It means your tyres might not safely support your car’s weight anymore. Ignoring it could lead to a flat tyre, which is dangerous for you and your family.

12. Driving with Low Fuel Tank:


When your tank is low on fuel, it can lead to problems, especially when it’s cold outside.

Know that, water is the enemy when it comes to your fuel tank in winter. If there’s too much water in your tank, it can freeze and cause trouble.

But when you keep your tank at least half full, it helps to prevent water from building up inside (condensation), which can freeze and block the fuel from reaching your engine. So, by keeping your tank half full, you reduce the chance of this happening and help your car run smoothly during the chilly weather.

13. Excessive Water Level in the Cooling System:


Your car’s cooling system needs a balanced mix of antifreeze and water, usually a 1:1. Putting in too much water can be a problem, especially when it gets cold.

It’s because excessive water can freeze inside the engine and the cooling system, leading to serious issues like a cracked engine block, which can be expensive to fix.


If you don’t need to drive, please don’t! Because, even if you drive carefully, you’re only adding more traffic to the roads. Additionally, if there’s an accident, it might depend on the other drivers that’s something you can’t control.

Addressing all these common vehicle problems during winter can help you handle the worst weather conditions with greater confidence and peace of mind.

And if, unfortunately, you come across an accident or you’ve got your car stuck in snow somewhere, no need to worry at all…

Call Kings Car Towing | Get Instant Towing Service!

In winter with icy roads, we help transport your car, anywhere according to its condition and needs.


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