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Engine Tips for Extreme Winter Weather

It’s that time of year again, when the days are short, the wind is brisk, and the low temperatures can bring mayhem for drivers. Many inexperienced drivers do not fully understand how to combat freezing temperatures. Here at Enginetech HQ in Texas, winter weather comes swiftly for one or two weeks out of the entire year, hence many drivers lack automotive winterizing knowledge. When winter weather does happen, it causes complete panic across our state.

Those of you in northern states may jest, but our brief southern winters still cause stranded drivers. Therefore, winter engine care tips are still important in the lone star state. Here are a few:

Engine Oil

Engine oil thickens significantly in very cold temperatures; therefore, it cannot flow as easily through the engine. Always Check your vehicle owner’s manual for which type of oil to use in winter conditions. Modern synthetic oils work well in cold weather, but it is essential that you use the right one.

Older Cars (built before 1985)

Drivers of classic cars, and older cars in general, need to be careful to avoid carburetor issues. Carburetors are fragile in extremely cold climates, mainly because the jets can get clogged with tiny pieces of frozen fuel. However, fuel additives can help to combat fuel freezing, but be very careful here – check with your gas station first! Some fuel stations may already have these additives mixed in straight out of the pump.

Older cars may need starter fluid to start in cold weather, but don’t entirely rely on this solution – it’s a reasonable tactic when you’re in a pinch though. Any auto parts store will have starter fluid and can demonstrate how to use it.

Starting Your Car in the Cold

Sometimes when struggling to start, your battery could use a little help. Turn off your lights, heat, music, and anything else that will draw electrical energy, so that the battery has all the juice it needs to do the most important task – starting your engine!

It’s ok to crank the engine, but don’t overheat your starter motor! A maximum of 10 seconds is all the strain you should load onto this motor. It may take more than one try for your engine to hum to life but allow a minute or so between tries so your battery can deliver full power to each attempt.  

It’s also a good idea to have jumper cables in your vehicle in case you need a jump from another car. However, only use them if you know how to jumpstart a vehicle safely. Always use safety precautions and inspect the cables to ensure they are sound before using them. If you don’t understand how to connect jumper cables safely, do not attempt to do it yourself, instead call an experienced person to assist you.

These are our cold weather tips to keep you in the driver’s seat this winter. It’s important to ask for assistance when needed, especially in a dangerous situation. The good thing is, many auto parts stores and machine shops have experts who can lend a hand whenever your engine is struggling so you don’t have to stress yourself, or you engine, this winter.

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