If Al Gore is right, all we’d need to do is collectively rev our SUVs’ engines and the cold of winter would shoo away – or at least dial back a bit.
It hasn’t worked so far. Hence climate change rather than global warming. It gets around the embarrassment of cold that still comes – as harsh as ever – and stays for months at a time (this is called winter) notwithstanding all those SUVs doing the C02 Nasty.
Well, how about some winter tips that will actually warm you – if not the earf – up?
Ceramic plug-in heater –
The one thing electric cars have over “IC” cars is instant-on heat, even on the coldest days. That’s because electric cars have electric heat – while IC car heaters rely on warm engine coolant to warm up the car. It’s a great way to make use of the engine’s waste heat – and for this reason, using the heat requires very little power – only the slight draw of the electric fan – but the problem is the engine has to be warm before you get any heat. And that takes several minutes, at least.
Several long minutes when it’s 13 degrees out.
Solution? A plug-in ceramic heater to bridge the gap between a cold engine – and a warm interior. They make heat via electricity – which your IC car produces (via the alternator) immediately, as soon as the engine is running. Just plug in to your car’s cigarette lighter – er, power point – and you will be warm (or at least not cold) right now . . . instead of several long minutes from now.
The best news? Ceramic heaters are as cheap as $20.
Cruise Amazon or your local car parts place and see for yourself.
Remote engine start –
Why wait for your car to warm up when you can warm it up remotely – and go from warm house to warm car? Press your key fob, the engine starts – and the car warms up – while you’re getting ready to go.
Once you are ready, the car is ready.
Many new cars offer this feature as a factory option. But what if you haven’t got a new car? Add it to your old car. With a few exceptions – really old cars and cars with manual transmissions – it’s a relatively easy – and not-expensive – thing to add. Most car stereo/electronics stores can handle the job – and the cost (parts and labor) shouldn’t be more than about $300.
How much is being warm worth to you?
A windshield-sized piece of cardboard –
Before you park the car for the night – this assumes you have to park outside, of course – place the piece of cardboard over the windshield and use the windshield wiper arms to hold it in place.
When you go out in the morning, simply remove the cardboard and – voila! – a clean, ice-free windshield. This field expedient tip is really the ticket when the weather turns to freezing rain.
Best of all, it’s our favorite price … free!
You can also buy flexible/fabric windshield covers made to fit your specific car’s windshield. These, obviously, are not free – but the advantages are they fit your car’s windshield exactly, can be shaken off/folded and stowed (hard to do with a chunk of cardboard) and, of course, will last longer.
Synthetic lubes –
Synthetics – in particular, gear lube as in a manual transmission/transaxle/axle – suffer brutal cold temperatures far less than non-synthetic lubricants. They still flow readily – while non-synthetics tend to thicken up or become more viscous.
The German army in World War II discovered this the hard way outside of Moscow in the winter of 1941. Temperatures reportedly fell to -40 and the German army’s tanks wouldn’t run and its guns wouldn’t fire because the lubricants they were using could not deal with extremes of cold and became so thick that mechanical parts could not move freely.
We don’t have to deal with such extremes – usually. And your car will probably still start and run, even if it is really cold out.
But it will smoother – and warm up faster – if you have synthetic lube in the engine, the transmission and axle. The difference on a cold day is immediately obvious; your transmission will shift more smoothly as a for-instance and you will sometimes notice a difference in rolling resistance vs. the same car with non-synthetic lube. The engine will also usually start easier – and come up to normal operating temperature sooner, which means you get heat inside the car sooner.
Synthetics are already in wide use as Original Equipment (OEM) fill because the friction reduction they provide is a “free” way to slightly increase a car’s gas mileage; it also reduces wear and tear.
Both are nice perks – along with the faster warm-up times!
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