We all know that winter is harder than summer on our Land Cruisers, but here is why and how you might give your rig the TLC treatment to combat the cold!

Digging deeper into the question of “Why?” will help us better understand the challenges faced by our Land Cruiser’s electrical system and how to better maintain our vehicle’s over bone chilling winter months to reduce chances of an untimely misadventure. The thought of a winter breakdown is enough to send a chill up anyone’s spine. Give yourself and your Land Cruiser the best chance of making it through winter without getting stranded in cold with a vehicle that won’t start in your driveway or stalls on trail.


The “whys” of winter woes on our Land Cruiser’s electrical systems:

1) Stressed Belts – Yes, we are starting with the “non-electrical” element of your Lan Cruiser charging system!  As temperatures dip, the serpentine belt that works with the alternator can become stiff or misalign, which can cause slippage and squealing noises. When the serpentine belt isn’t working properly, your charging system won’t work as efficiently or effectively as it should. When you get your vehicle started, don’t just jump in and go! Give it a minute to get warmed up! Think of yourself as a Fort Binning Drill Sargent, are you waking your private out of bed, straight out into the cold to do pushup’s? Our rigs are “grandpa’s” for Pete’s sake!

2) Fewer Electrons – 
Cold weather slows everything down, especially the chemical reaction happening inside our vehicle’s battery. In fact, at 32°F, the battery loses about 35% of its strength. And at 0°F, it loses up to 60% of its strength—but our engine’s requires nearly twice as much power to start! Cold temperatures make it harder for our battery to produce electrons because of the nature of chemistry. Producing electrons is the result of a chemical process, and that is simply harder to do in cold weather. Electrons, of course, are the source of power. Fewer electrons mean less power to essential components like starters. As batteries get older, they also become less capable to do the job. Eventually, the battery gets overwhelmed and can’t push our torquey pistons!

3) Thicker Oil
 – As temperatures drop, motor oil becomes thicker, making it harder to start a vehicle. To get a vehicle going, it requires more power from the charging system, at a time when the system is already under stress. The extra strain can affect both your battery and alternator, which work together as a team to deliver electrical current.

4) Corrosive Effects
 – Winter is a wet and sloppy time of the year throughout much of the country, but technically it’ the driest time of year for us here in Colorado Springs. But too, we like to play in the snow and snow get’s into our engine compartments. This snow melts and evaporates, exposing our electrical system to moisture can lead to problems ranging from corroded battery cable connections to damaged alternator shaft bearings. Corrosion adversely affects functionality of electrical components. “Die-Electric” or dielectric grease should be applied to your battery post! Here is some interesting reading:

5) Accessory Usage
 – For many people, usage of accessories that require electrical power increases in winter months. Longer days of darkness means headlights are on longer. Frequent snow, sleet and road spray result in more windshield wiper usage. If your rig is retrofitted with heated seats or maybe your significant other has a heated blanket, chances are those are drawing electric, too. Oh, and don’t forget that electric refrigerator in the back! All of these electrical items need for more power generation, placing additional load on the charging system.

6) Inspect your Electrical System
 – You don’t want to be stranded with a vehicle that doesn’t start or stalls on trail because of a weak electrical system. Your best choice is to perform a thorough inspection of your charging system before winter settles in. With a well-functioning electrical system, you should be able to get through winter without any problems. Precautions taken now will be appreciated when the wind is howling and the temperatures are dropping. Trying to start a fire with wet wood is no fun.

Want us to perform a full inspection of your Toyota Land Cruiser?
Give us a call at 719.638.2003
Address: 1050 Ford Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80915-2909
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