Considering Becoming a Mechanic? Check out These 3 Winter Car Myths

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The annual arrival of snow, ice, and cold weather means that many drivers have to shift gears and prepare their cars for several seasonal challenges. Whether that includes heating up the car, de-icing windshields, or trying to improve traction on slippery roads, there are many solutions drivers turn to. Some, however, might do more harm than good.
Did you know that drivers don’t have to warm up their car’s engine on a cold morning? Or that pouring hot water on an icy windshield can cause it to crack? If you’re interested in starting a career as a mechanic, read on to learn the truth behind several popular automotive winter weather myths.

1. Graduates of Mechanic School Know Cars Don’t Need to ‘Heat Up’

“Cars need a little more time to warm up from the cold before they can be driven”. We’ve all probably followed this advice before, and left our car to idle in the driveway long before we actually got in.
While this may have the benefit of heating the interior, graduates of an auto mechanic course know that letting a car ‘heat up’ for a long period during a cold day is not particularly beneficial. Many modern vehicles use aluminum engine blocks, which means the engine won’t reach a hot temperature unless the car is actually being driven. Leaving it idling in the driveway does little more than burn valuable fuel, and can potentially cause premature wear on the engine.

2. Car Batteries Are Not More Likely to Die in Winter than in Summer

It is true that the colder the weather, the more a battery has to work to produce the energy a car needs to run. Graduates of mechanic school also know that it’s true low temperatures can cause a car battery to lose a charge. Winter weather, however, does not mean that a car’s battery has a higher chance of failure than during warmer seasons.

Auto mechanics know that extreme temperatures of all kinds affect car batteries
Auto mechanics know that extreme temperatures of all kinds affect car batteries

In fact, more car batteries fail during the summer months, partially because intense heat evaporates the electrolyte inside, cutting battery life significantly. This means that extreme weather, both hot and cold, has negative effects on a car’s battery.

3. Using Sandbags Does Not Give a Car Better Traction

Driving on icy roads can be hazardous, and it’s understandable that many drivers want to give their car a little more weight to keep it balanced on the road. Sandbags may seem like the perfect option to serve as a ballast—especially going uphill.
The current power-to-weight ratios of many modern vehicles, however, mean that drivers don’t have to start stacking sandbags in the trunk if they want their car to make it over a hill. In fact, sometimes all they need to do is fill up on gas. The most effective area to focus on when it comes to a car’s weight is low and center—in other words, right where the fuel tank is. This means that filling up the full tank both takes up less space and helps improve the car’s traction and handling.
Do you want to learn how to take the next steps towards becoming a mechanic?
Contact CATI for more information!

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