Now that winter is here, drivers in Saskatchewan are reluctantly thinking of taking steps to winterize their vehicles.
But is it worth the extra cost to do so?
Todd Green, who is also known as the Grumpy Mechanic, talked with CBC Radio’s Blue Sky to discuss some of the questions people have about winterizing their vehicles.
Green said there are two things which bug him most when it comes to winter driving.
Winter tires: get them, he says.
“When I see people slipping and sliding around, that’s entirely preventable with the right tires,” Green said.
Green also recommends you let your vehicle warm up instead of immediately taking off after startup. Green said it really grinds his gears when he sees vehicles on the road covered in snow and frosty windows.
He recommends waiting until the windows have been properly defrosted before departing and the engine and cooling system have sufficiently warmed up.
Green advocates using synthetic oil over conventional oil to prolong engine life. Synthetic oil will wear the engine down less over time and save you money, he said.
“If you have normal oil in the crank case, there are times where that oil will not flow for a minute or so to the top end of the engine,” Green said.
“I know it’s a little bit more expensive up front but you just don’t wear things out quite as quickly.”
Green said he has seen people switch to synthetic in the winter and then back to conventional during the summer months.
Green also mentions the importance of having a block heater. He said he would plug it in if the temperature went down to –15 or lower.
Q: I have an unheated garage and I don’t plug in my vehicle, but it starts every time. Is this a problem?
A: If it actually gets down below –15, there are advantages to plugging the vehicle in. As far as warming it up before you go, so long as you go out into the weather, you don’t fog up, then you’ll be fine.
Q: Does cardboard in front of the radiator panel make a difference?
A: There aren’t great advantages to that. Usually when I see somebody with cardboard out in front of the radiator, it’s because there’s some other issue going on with the vehicle. For example, maybe the thermostat in the engine is not working properly and the engine never gets up to operating temperature. In the modern era, I would avoid cardboard.
Q: Between all-season, winter tires and a new option called “weather”, is there a good mid-range tire that can be used in these parts of the country that can do the job of winter driving?
A: I’ve had some good success with four-season tires. There is always a little bit of a compromise. Most of the four-season tires do work really, really well in the winter time but it still isn’t the optimal compared to the winter tire. If I only wanted to go with one set of tires, I would look into the four seasons. Not an all season, a four season. … I’ve never been satisfied with an all season. They’re definitely compromised in the winter.