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How to maintain your car's engine during the winter

By Kijiji Autos
How to maintain your car's engine during winter

If you want a safe and smooth driving experience during the harsh winter months, a well-maintained engine is essential. Fortunately, a little bit of effort goes a long way. Here are our top tips to help you keep your engine running smoothly through the snowy months.

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Use antifreeze

Either coolant or antifreeze can be used to stop water from freezing in chilly conditions. Antifreeze also lubricates the moving parts it comes in contact with inside your vehicle, optimizing its overall performance.

It’s important to inspect your vehicle’s coolant levels as the season begins to change from autumn to winter. If you notice that it’s looking low or that the existing fluid looks a little spent (colourless or with debris floating in it), then you will want to top it off or, in the latter’s case, replace it entirely. Always make sure to get an antifreeze that is properly optimized for your own vehicle and climate.

Properly warm up your engine

For years, the most common of winter practices was starting the ignition several minutes before leaving to warm up the car. But recent studies have found that this practice of warming up the engine can do more harm than good—for the internal workings of your car and also the environment. This process wastes gas and shortens the lifespan of your engine.

Anytime that the weather dips below -15ºC, you want to plug in your car engine’s block heater several hours before you need to drive. A block heater keeps your vehicle’s engine warm, protecting several important components while making it easier for your car to start. Not only does this reduce the amount of stress placed on your car, but it also prevents your engine from wasting money.

Additionally, block heaters make winter driving more pleasant for you as well as your engine. By warming up your engine’s coolant fluid, your car is able to draw in warm air almost immediately after being started in the morning.

What about diesel and electric cars?

In terms of maintaining your diesel car’s engine during harsh winter months, the process isn’t much different from that of a regular gas vehicle. Diesel tends to freeze more easily than regular gas, so it’s important to use good fuel throughout the snowy season. Otherwise, ensure your vehicle is topped up with fresh antifreeze before the winter begins, and have some gas line antifreeze stored in your car’s trunk just in case.

Electric and hybrid vehicles are affected by extremely cold weather more than almost any other type. Electric batteries are less efficient in cold weather, spending much of their energy heating your car’s interior. By warming your car’s interior while it charges, you’re able to increase the cabin temperature while saving energy. Give yourself plenty of time while charging your vehicle, as these vehicles can take up to almost twice as long to charge in cold weather. Lastly, try to park your electric vehicle indoors when possible.

Pay close attention to your car’s engine throughout the winter because a little bit of care can go a long way. If you’re looking for a new or nearly new vehicle to withstand the cold, Kijiji Autos has a wide selection of winter-ready vehicles.

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