How Fall Weather Affects Your Car in Kansas City

September 10th, 2020 by

oil change at Zeck Ford

Take Great Care of Yours at the Zeck Ford Service Department in Leavenworth

You may be welcoming cooler temperatures with open arms, but sweater weather isn’t always so pleasant for your vehicle. As the leaves turn crisp and colorful and fall from the trees, pay close attention to how chillier weather might affect your ride.

If, after reading these things to watch for, you realize it may be time to have your Ford vehicle professionally serviced, contact the Zeck Ford Service Department to make an appointment for repairs, tire replacement, tire balancing, fluid flushes, brake repair, oil change, belt replacement, and more.

All-Season Tires on Your Ford Fusion Lose Their Grip

Your all-season tires were an absolutely smart purchase. For more than half the year, they help get your vehicle the best possible fuel economy and serve their purpose well. However, at about 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the rubber in your all-season tires begins to harden, which can decrease the traction they provide as you drive down the road. Forty-five degrees, in the grand scheme of the temperatures we face in Kansas City, isn’t even that cold.

To help keep your Ford Escape, Fusion, or other vehicle on the road when the temperature drops, swap out your all-season tires for winter ones, which stay soft and maintain their traction on the pavement, thanks to a different rubber compound used in their manufacture.

Oil Gets Thicker in Your Ford Truck

Prepare for frigid temperatures by getting an oil change in Leavenworth, Kansas. Motor oil thickens when it gets cold, which makes it harder for the engine to turn over. Swap out your usual motor oil for a thinner grade; check your owner’s manual for more information on cold-weather oil for your vehicle.

Combined with your battery’s output dropping by about half at nine degrees Fahrenheit, you might be in for a surprise when you try to start your car, truck, or SUV for the first time in the morning. In extremely cold weather, you might consider an engine block heater or a battery blanket; these aren’t always necessary in areas like Leavenworth, Kansas; Overland Park, KS; or Parkville, MO.

Longer Trips are Better for Your Ford Engine

If you have a lot of quick errands to run, you might consider doing them all back-to-back instead of venturing out throughout the day in your Ford F-150. Why? Your car’s engine is the least efficient during the first half hour after you start it up cold, before it works up to operating temperature.

While the car works toward warming, your car is using a high gasoline-to-air ratio so it doesn’t stall. This can cause water vapor to build up in the motor oil and exhaust system. The engine burns off this water vapor after it’s warmed. If your vehicle never reaches optimal temperature, then you may notice sludge on your dipstick, or a prematurely rusty exhaust system.

Fill Up on Windshield Wiper Fluid in Your New Ford EcoSport

It’s tempting to splash hot water onto your frozen windshield to clear it after an ice storm, but that is only asking for damage! Similarly, blasting your defroster can cause a cracked windshield, too.

Choose windshield washer fluid appropriate for winter temperatures, or add an alcohol spray to your existing fluid. Even ordinary rubbing alcohol is a better idea for your windshield.

Air Up the Tires on Your New or Used Car

Heat causes air to expand, which keeps your tires at the right pressure during the summer months. Cold weather causes tires to lose air pressure, so it’s important to watch for low tire alerts on your dashboard and check air pressure regularly.

Driving on under-inflated tires causes uneven wear and can shorten your tires’ lifespans, which means you’re going to end up spending more money over time than you would if you’d just refilled the air. Under-inflated tires are also at risk for a blow-out. Check your car’s owner’s manual to find the right air pressure for your tires.

Expect Lower Fuel Economy from Your Ford in Frigid Temperatures

Driving in cold weather requires your vehicle to use more fuel to perform the same work as it would during warmer temperatures. For example, cold temperatures mean your engine and transmission friction increases; colder air is more dense, which makes your vehicle less aerodynamic; and tire pressure decreases, which increases rolling resistance.

Luckily, there are ways to improve your fuel economy. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests that you park your car in a warmer place, such as a garage; remove accessories, like roof racks, that may increase wind resistance; and don’t use your seat warmers or defroster more than is absolutely necessary.

Take Extra Care of Your Fusion or Escape Plug-In Hybrid

Your plug-in hybrid works differently from a traditional, gas-powered Ford. If you drive a Ford Fusion plug-in hybrid or a Ford Escape plug-in hybrid, you should follow these steps to keep your vehicle running optimally and extend its range in chilly Kansas City autumns and cold winters.

  • Preheat the cabin of your vehicle while it’s plugged in on the charger.
  • Use seat warmers instead of the cabin heater, or start with the cabin heater, and then turn on the seat warmers for the duration of your trip.
  • Check your battery regularly. Performance decreases in cold weather, which can affect your regenerative braking system.

Get the Best Ford Service in the KC Metro Area at Our Ford Dealership

If you’re ready to prep your new or used Ford for colder weather, call our service center at 844-645-5448 or book an appointment online. We will always:

  • Make sure your engine oil is the right viscosity.
  • Ensure the proper water-to-antifreeze mixture is maintained.
  • Check that your windshield wipers are operable, and your washer fluid reservoir is full.
  • Double-check your hoses and belts for shrinkage, cracks, and stiffness.

There’s no better place than Zeck Ford’s Quick Lane to get an oil change near you or buy new winter tires. Our low-price tire guarantee means you never pay more than the lowest advertised price, no matter where you find them in the Kansas City metro area. Make your appointment today, because our schedule is filling up fast.

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