What Does Cold Weather Do to Your Car’s Transmission?

Cold weather can have some dangerous effects on your tires and windshield, deflating the former and sheeting the latter in ice. But did you know that cold weather can also affect your transmission system, the components of your vehicle that translate engine power to your wheels? Nearly every Salt Lake City transmission auto shop could tell you the things they’ve seen happen to transmission in the winter. Here’s what you should know as a vehicle owner about cold weather and its effects on your car’s transmission system.


Cold weather can cause the transmission to freeze, which makes its components contract in size. When this happens, the fluid in the system can start to leak between the parts. Why is this important? This can result in low line pressure or even a low fuel supply, and the system can be unresponsive, or at least slow to respond. The transmission may even slip.

An important part of vehicle care is ensuring your system doesn’t freeze and that your fluid levels stay adequate. To prevent freezing, warm up the car for a few minutes before you begin driving. Warm air and fluids will reverse contraction so all parts return to their original size.

You should visit a transmission auto shop to have your fluid levels checked and even flushed of contaminants if you haven’t done so in a while. Good, clean fluid will ensure your transmission system works appropriately.

Slow Starts

Cold weather can even make your gears get stuck. Sticky and cold gears, reacting to low temperatures, will be slow to respond. However, this process should reverse itself after you drive for a few miles. Another important reason to warm up your car before driving is that sticky gears can make your car unresponsive in a dangerous situation. If your vehicle has already had troublesome transmission, exhibiting signs like noisy gears and unusual odor from the vehicle’s underside, visit a transmission auto shop as soon as possible. Cold weather can make these problems worse, especially as cold weather starts to make the gears stick.

There are other related components that may make your vehicle slow to respond or even start at all. For instance, the battery may dry out in cold weather. Also, thickened, cold motor oil can prevent the engine from starting at all.

Don’t let cold weather leave you without a safe vehicle. Visit a Salt Lake City transmission auto shop to repair your transmission before the winter weather makes problems worse.