Global warming seems to have missed Ontario, as most of the province experienced the coldest February on record. When it hasn’t been crazy cold, Mother Nature has had wild mood swings that bring wicked temperature changes. Last night here in Whitby it was minus 17 degrees and in a couple of days the weatherman is expecting the temperature to climb to positive digits. Not only has it been cold enough to freeze those stones off the brass monkey, but what does it do to your car?
People have some pretty unrealistic expectations of their cars in cold weather and end up at their dealer with some rather silly complaints if they would just think a bit about what they are asking of their car. The following are a selection of fairly common questions I have heard on the front line over the years.
First up: Folks, its called a snow brush!
There is nothing more infuriating than watching a lazy assed halfwit cruising down the street with 6 inches of snow on the roof, blinding all the other drivers with the blizzard they are leaving in their wake. Even more frightening are the ones with a full on snow drift on their hood and two half cleared arcs where the overworked wipers have pushed a tiny bit of snow off the windshield so they can only see out of a peep hole.
My car doesn’t heat up fast enough/I don’t have heat before I get to work.
Service Advisor: How far is your drive to work?
Driver: about 4 or 5 blocks
Sorry to sound like a dink folks, but: Duh! That big lump of cast iron you have under the hood is starting it’s drive at minus 20. While you put a coat on and keep the heat in, it has to generate that heat for itself before it can toast your tootsies.
I’ve driven many cars in this weather and I’ve found that the temperature guage doesn’t typically begin to move until a spot that is about 4 kilometers from my driveway. It is another 2 kms before there is actual heat from the vents.
I replaced my windshield wipers, but they keep leaving wide strips uncleaned
To start with, see above: use the snowbrush! All that junk you’ve left at the bottom of the windshield collects in the framework of your wipers and freezes. Once that stuff freezes in there, the blade can’t conform to the shape of the windshield. I hate to say it, but you’ll just have to get your lazy ass out of the car and break the ice off the blades. All of it. Oh yeah, sticking your hand out the window and trying to snap the blade against the glass is a good way to slice a chunk out of your finger!
The display on my radio doesn’t work when I start the car at minus 20
Well folks, let’s think about something here: That little display is an LCD. For those of you who were asleep in high school science, that stands for Liquid Crystal Display. Get the idea where I’m going here? The characters in the display are made up of agitated (ie moving) particles suspended in the liquid. For the techies out there, yes I know that is over simplifed. That LCD is frozen and the particles can’t move till they get a little bit of heat in them. Alcohol isn’t supposed to freeze either, but leave a case of beer outside today and see what happens!
There are more of these than I thought and I have to head out into the cold so I’ll continue this little instructional bit later in the weekend. For now, be sure to keep warm and keep those wipers clean.