frozen windshield wipers | common winter car problems | duramax transmissions

5 Common Winter Car Problems + How To Avoid Them

Taking care of your car can be quite a hassle at times, but with a few simple steps, you can ensure your vehicle will run smoothly throughout the wintertime. We’ve taken the time to list out 5 of the most common winter car problems along with tips to avoid them.

Decreased Tire Pressure

Cold temperatures cause tire flattening over time, so it is best to check your tire pressure regularly. Using the manual for your car, make sure the tires are in the acceptable range. This will not only increase the efficiency of the vehicle but also help when driving under less-than-ideal weather conditions.

Ice in Fuel Line

We recommend keeping the gas tank half full during the winter because some tanks can develop ice from moisture in the air. Even if this isn’t motivation enough, you never know when a storm or other catastrophe will occur. As the saying goes, it’s best to be safe than sorry. So, don’t run your car on an empty gas tank this holiday season.

Spark Plug Degradation

Going to work in the morning may take a lot longer with the time to scrape ice off the windows. However, this does not mean it’s a good idea to let your car warm up. Doing so can cause a myriad of problems ranging from wasted fuel to damaged spark plugs. Cars were not meant to idle for long periods of time, so we recommend investing in some de-ice spray if scraping is a difficult task.

Frozen Windshield Wipers

Do you ever see streaks on your windshield when using the wipers? This is a sign that your current wipers are getting old and inefficient. Take the hint, and replace them so as to prevent issues during inclement weather. Newer wipers are also able to handle the temperature drop better because they have fewer cracks for moisture to build up.

Dead Batteries

No one wants to end up stranded on the side of the road with a dead car battery. Make sure your battery is charged and thus able to handle tougher starts in the cold. It may even be a good idea to keep an extra battery in the garage for future use. Even still, always have jumper cables in your trunk in case your battery does die.


We aren’t sharing these common winter car problems to scare you. Instead, we want you to be as prepared as possible and have a safe, enjoyable holiday season. So, take our advice and check out these simple things to avoid issues in the cold weather.


If you have any questions, give us a call at (503) 363-6888. Happy Holidays!

Car Shift Console - Transmission

Common Transmission Problems

There are a few transmission problems you should be on the lookout for to avoid costly repair, and Duramax offers all of the maintenance services that will keep your vehicle’s transmission in top shape. Different problems can have similar symptoms, so it is important to undertake regular transmission maintenance. Here are some of the most common issues and their symptoms.


Low Fluid or Leak

One of the most common problems are fluid leaks. Fluid leaks occur when the seals around the transmission or driveshaft become defective, causing wear on the transmission. Be on the lookout for bright to dark red or brown fluid leaking from your vehicle. Other symptoms include slipping gears or slow shifting. A fluid leak requires a complete flush and refill, as well as any necessary seal replacements.


Torque Converter

The torque converter is responsible for transmitting power from the engine to the transmission. It has a couple components that can become damaged, the needle bearings and the solenoid. Needle bearings help prevent the gears from wearing down. The bearings can become damaged, causing a grinding or brushing sound while the vehicle is in motion and the transmission to overheat. The solenoid assists the torque converter in the flow of fluid through the transmission. A solenoid malfunction has symptoms similar to a fluid leak, with an overheating transmission or slipping gears. If you suspect a leak and there is none, the solenoid is the next thing to check.



The clutch can be a perpetrator of a locked solenoid and torque converter malfunction, and is caused either by human or mechanical error. You’ll notice a clutch problem if it causes violent shaking in the undercarriage and overheating in the transmission. You may also notice a drop in horsepower in the engine. This can require a total clutch replacement.


Having this knowledge and promptly repairing the issues will save you money in the long run.  Make sure your repair shop is reputable and ASE certified.