I'm up here in rochester, where one would say it got cold, despite it being one of the mildest winters on record. I drove around a lot in this cold weather, and I've been getting a reputation as a rough driver - bad on the clutch, transmission, not smooth, etc. I thought it could have been my skills deteriorating or smth, so I shook it off. The one thing that was harder to shake off is the drastic loss of mileage - I usually get 22-24, even in the winter it's more like 20-22 usually, but this winter I've been seeing numbers closer to 17mpg, and I don't idle for long or take it hard. No matter what, though, the car felt a little ragged, rough around the edges. It's been tougher to handle in terms of driver input, it likes to do that engine brake jerk in 1st and 2nd, the PS pulley squeeks when I put too much load on it with my steering wheel, etc.
Today, we hit 65* as a high, and it never got below about 50*. I did two quick runs in my car - one to pick up a couch a little ways down the road (it went on the roof. With a tow strap. And it was only me and one guy helping), and one to drop a girl from my floor off at the bus station in the actual city. Both times I noticed the little things, like the fact that the clutch felt MUCH nicer, the accelerator pedal and acceleration in general felt smoother, the engine brake jerk was completely gone - I was even complemented on how smoothly I drove (from someone who had never ridden with me before). I can't really pin down everything that changed, but I will definitely say it was a nicer, more fun experience - the comparative I would use is definitely smoother.
So, what am I doing wrong for winter? Are all of my fluids just acting like they are totally not within correct temperature range? Why?