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Common Causes of Car Breakdowns in Winter

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Common Causes of Car Breakdowns in Winter

Thanks to our years of experience in the automotive industry, Munster Tyres have learnt that cars and winter don’t mix particularly well. Whether it’s a faulty alternator or a frozen locking system, there are a number of common faults that your vehicle might fall victim to, so it’s best to learn what these are so that you can act accordingly.


When you think about your vehicle’s electrics, ‘battery’ probably springs to mind. However, for your battery to operate properly while the car is running, you need to make sure that you have a working alternator. Your alternator converts your engine’s rotational energy into electricity, keeping the battery topped up with charge. 

Your alternator can take a bit of a hammering in winter, so be on the lookout for battery warning lights, dimmed headlamps and slower-than-usual windscreen wipers. This way, you can be prepared if your alternator fails.


Frozen temperatures can cause your battery to run down extremely quickly, so be wary of your battery warning light on the dashboard. If you’re one of the unlucky ones with a faulty warning light too, the only warning you’ll get is a grinding starter motor followed by absolute silence.

If you think your battery is faulty, get it replaced immediately. Opting to recharge it is just a temporary measure.

Starter motor

In winter, your car is 18% more likely to not start at all, so don’t be surprised if you press the unlock button and nothing happens! 

If you’re one of the unfortunate ones, this probably has something to do with your starter motor. There’s nothing you can do to solve the problem right there and then, so be sure to have your starter motor checked as part of your annual service schedule.

Locking system

Inclimate weather can wreak havoc with your vehicle’s electricals, something which can directly affect your car’s locking system if left for too long. Another problem you might have is your door locks have become frozen. If this happens, we recommend a squirt of WD-40 – a light smear of Vaseline on the door seals will stop them from sticking as well.


In winter, your tyres will have a lot to deal with. Firstly, in icy conditions, you will be using your brakes a great deal more, meaning that your car’s tread depth will take a hit. Another problem is the sheer amount of debris on the road, swept in by strong winds and precipitation. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to combat this debris, other than drive slowly. However, to ensure that your tyres are in the best position to absorb damage, we recommend checking the pressure of your tyres regularly throughout winter.


Servicing cars throughout Fulham and the West London area, Munster Tyres are well equipped to solve your winter car woes. Thanks to our 40 years of experience, we’re able to offer a friendly, professional service, regardless of whether we’re doing a simple brakes or check or a full MOT. For more information, get in touch with Munster Tyres today.


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