Some car repairs can happen at any time. A flat tire, for instance, can happen any day of the year. Some car repairs, however, are more common at specific times of the year. Ever wonder why it seems like your car’s battery goes flat after the first real frost of the winter? That’s no coincidence. Ever wonder why blowouts seem to happen during the height of summer? Again, it is not really all about chance or bad luck. Let’s run through some of the most common car repairs by season so you can take a proactive stance to maintenance and repair work.
Heater Repair: In areas where cold temperatures wait a little while to set in, heater repair is more common during the early winter rather than the late fall.
Wiper Motor Replacement: Wintertime means rain, sleet, snow, and the need to clear all that off your windshield. This means additional strain for a wiper motor that might have seen better days, which is why motor replacement during the winter (or very early spring) is more common than in other seasons.
Headlight Replacement: Headlights do not fail more often during the winter, but they are more frequently replaced during the winter. This is because we tend to use them more often, making a blown bulb that much more noticeable. For instance, someone who only drove during daylight hours might never realize a headlight was out during the spring and summer, but it becomes obvious during the winter with its later sunrise and earlier sunset, as well as the increase in inclement weather.
Battery Replacement: Batteries actually suffer more damage from high temperatures during the summer, but that damage does not become apparent until cold weather sets in. Most car battery replacements occur shortly after the first deep cold snap of the season. This is because cold weather means a heavier load on the battery, meaning that damage is more likely to result in failure.
Trunk Latch Replacement: Trunk latch replacements seem to be more common during the springtime, perhaps due to ice damage during the winter, or a weakening of mechanisms due to exposure to the cold during the winter and heavier use during the spring.
Wheel Speed Sensor Replacement: Wheel speed sensors seem to fail more often during the spring. This could be due to exposure to road salt during the winter and the subsequent increase in driving during spring.
Window Lift Motor and Regulator: As the weather warms, you’ll start using your windows more often, meaning that a failing window lift motor or regulator could is more likely to give up the ghost.
Air Conditioner Repair: Late spring, when the temperatures start to rise into the uncomfortable territory, is when most people turn on their air conditioners to discover that they don’t cool as well as they should or don’t cool at all.
Timing Chain Replacement: Timing belt replacement should happen based on mileage, but chains are from metal and can last for an indeterminate amount of time. However, most replacements seem to occur during the summer months.
Fan Clutch Replacement: As the mercury rises, your car’s engine begins to require supplemental cooling. If the radiator fan clutch is on the way out, look for it to fail outright around this time.
Radiator Replacement: There are more radiator replacements during the summer than at any other time of year, although winter runs a close second. There is also an uptick in the replacement of radiator hoses during this time.
Tires: Summertime is the most likely period of the year to experience a blowout. This is particularly true for tires that have seen better days – the high heat of sun-baked asphalt can be all that is needed for tires low on tread to finally fail.
Suspension Work: Suspension work, including strut and shock replacement, as well as spring replacement, is most common during the fall months. This is likely triggered by the heavy driving during the summer, which becomes more noticeable during the fall.
Window Lift Motors and Regulators: Like spring, people use their windows more during the cooler months of fall. After a summer of having the windows rolled up, frequent use during fall can mean an end for window regulators and lift motors that are beginning to fail.
Heater Repair: The end of fall, like the end of spring, brings with it a change to conditioned air -heat in this case. Many drivers turn their heater on only to find that it either doesn’t warm very well, or doesn’t produce any heat at all.
The Answer to Seasonal Repairs
While there is little that you can do about some of the repairs we mentioned above, there are ways that you can head them off at the pass, or at least ensure that you’re able to have them taken care of as quickly as possible.
One of the most important tips is to keep an eye on your vehicle. Make sure you know how much air is supposed to be in the tires, and check them regularly. Double-check the tread and wear pattern on your tires, as well, so you can replace them before they become safety hazards.
Another crucial tip is to ensure that you have regular maintenance performed. For instance, many mechanic shops will provide you with a complimentary battery and charging system test at each oil change, allowing you to replace your battery before it leaves you stranded during the depths of winter. A trusted mechanic will also be able to keep an eye on other things, including your car’s lights, suspension wear, and even coolant condition.
By taking a proactive stance toward automotive maintenance and keeping an eye on things yourself, you can mitigate the impact of seasonal repairs on your car.