Motors and ice have never been the best of buddies. When the mercury dips below zero degrees, all sorts of automotive problems begin to appear. At precisely the time when your engine needs a little extra help, your car battery may give up the ghost and lose its charge. Engine oil can often become thicker, making starting more stressful on both the engine and the owner. Door locks can sometimes even freeze you out of your vehicle, and when you finally start moving, your tires may have to fight to maintain adequate traction on a slippery route in icy conditions. Seeing where you’re heading can be difficult as an icy mist gathers on your windows, and even those smug motorists with heated windows may find themselves having to clear the side windows to allow suitable viability. This is a time for care and a little extra preparation. To help us slide through the colder periods without disaster, there are measures you can take and products you can buy at your local car parts retailer to take the bite out of cold weather driving. What follows are a number of hints and tips that will help you to survive against the frost gremlins.
CAN’T GET IN!
Almost as irritating as a car that wont start is being iced out of your car altogether. Fortunately, this can be easily sorted with a de-icer spray or even a match. There are even some electric de-icers around designed to thaw iced up car door locks by inserting a heated copper rod into the key slot. Such products can be very helpful and usually need just two ordinary batteries schlüssel klemmt.
WEAK CAR BATTERY?
Flat car batteries and hard to start motors are common issues. The chemical that produces power in batteries cannot always provide enough power when temperatures fall. Also, oil in the engine thickened by the cold makes the starter motor work harder when you turn the ignition key. At freezing for instance, the power of a battery can drop by almost 15%, while the engine requires about 150 percent more cranking power. At freezing, the battery has lost up to 35 percent of its energy just when the engine’s asking for two and a half times more work. Ensuring both the battery and power wires are in perfect condition is critical. It is recommended that you keep a good set of jump leads in your trunk. Even better, use a portable battery which eliminates the necessity for having a good Samaritan on hand willing to assist you by using their car to jump start yours. As you’re probably aware, when people are in a hurry to get to work, you may find a bit of goodwill difficult to find. These rechargeable power sources contain a 12-volt battery inside a hard cover, along with positive and negative points for jumping a battery.
WARM UP YOUR CAR
A little-known solution is to fit an engine warmer. These turn on by themselves at a preset time and warm the motor before driving off. This can help with winter morning starts and can be less stressful on the engine. You may also think about having a remote control car starter fitted. This enables you to start your car from inside your office, pre-heating the vehicle interior. This could be an option for those with leather seats, who are well aware of the discomfort of entering an icy cold car first thing in the morning. This also gives the oil a chance to circulate around the engine before you set off, significantly reducing engine wear. This can be especially beneficial for some cars fitted with a turbo.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT OIL
A great way to ease the load on your motor when running the vehicle in freezing conditions is to switch to a lower viscosity oil for the winter. An oil around 10W should do the trick, and still provide adequate protection when your engine warms up after running for a few moments. 10W oils are less dense on start-up than ordinary oils, meaning your car will spring into life a bit easier. Your engine is still safe in start-up conditions as low as minus fifty and up to almost 400 degrees running temperature.
FIGHT INADEQUATE VISIBILITY
Having good visibility through your screen is often difficult on a winter morning. Yet there is no substitute for a simple scraper, a sturdy brush and an aerosol of de-icer. Also, windscreen treatments can be bought to help stop snow from forming on the screen. In addition, you can introduce de-icer liquid to your washer reservoir, not only to keep the windshield clear, but to stop the fluid in the reservoir from icing up.
HARD TIME GETTING AWAY?
Despite your best efforts, you’re always going to get stuck every now and then. This is where mud mats can be a godsend. They’re positioned in front of the powered wheels to give the required traction to get moving and get out of a tough spot. You should also purchase a store of rock salt, a relatively easy option to thaw your driveway, or you could purchase a specially formulated ice melter.
For tough conditions, there are such things as heated windshield wipers. Wired into the car electrical circuit and heated by a heated unit, they’re made in various sizes and include an adapter to fit the most common wiper arms. Most people don’t really have the need for dedicated winter tires or tire chains, however in many areas of the UK, especially hilly or non-urban areas, their availability is fairly common. Even if you stay with your year round tyres, make sure you have plenty of tread depth. Bald tires of all kinds will reduce both grip and safety, and could earn you into trouble with the police.