Helping you and your car cope with the cold
The epic battle between nature and machine is an everyday reality when you live in Ontario. Getting your car running in the morning can be tough if you’re up against extreme weather conditions. Ford of Canada answers some of your harsh winter weather questions and provides some tips for beating the winter blues.
Is it ideal to idle?
It’s a popular practice to warm your car up inside and out by idling for as long as 10 or 15 minutes before driving. However, idling to defrost your car “isn’t necessary and takes longer than old-fashioned scraping,” said Sudbury’s Cambrian Ford dealer. “In milder winter conditions, once you have cleared all the snow from your vehicle, including the windows and side mirrors, you’re ready to drive away.
But what about days when the weather gets much colder?
To find out, Ford has performed cold weather testing in extreme temperatures in the world’s largest climatic test facility – McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida – to ensure durability and endurance of all their vehicles and Powertrain components. The truth is, in very cold winter conditions, it’s not frosted windows you need to worry about – it’s frozen engines. To avoid this risk, drivers should use a block heater when the temperatures drop below zero degrees.
Talk to your local Ford dealer about the installation of a block heater in your vehicle, as they are crucial in winter weather. A block heater warms the engine, coolant and oil, making it easier for the motor to start and run, and can improve fuel economy by roughly 10 per cent.
“Typical winter maintenance includes testing your block heater to make sure it’s working,” said Sudbury’s Cambrian Ford dealer. “Your dealer will also check other systems like your defroster, coolant and winter tires.”
To wash or not to wash – that is the question
While some people might avoid washing their cars during the winter, it’s actually a good idea to give them a good cleaning because salt and dirt can cause rust and corrosion to a vehicle’s finish. Salt and dirt can also affect the mechanics of your vehicle. If you’re afraid of frozen doors and windows, don’t be. “Lubricating locks, weather stripping and lubricating latches are part of regular vehicle maintenance,” said Sudbury’s Cambrian Ford dealer. “This will help keep vehicle doors and windows from freezing.”
Here are some other useful winter vehicle tips:
- Turn off the re-circulated air setting. Re-circulated air increases the humidity in the car and promotes fogging during cold weather.
- Keep snow and ice on your floor mats to a minimum. Excess water in your vehicle will increase humidity levels.
- Fix your vents. To help with inside window defogging, direct the outer panel vents toward the side windows and close the middle vents.
- Be kind to the heated grid lines. Be careful with the heated grid lines when scraping the rear windshield, they help melt the snow off your window and are key for visibility.
- Don’t forget to clean the ice off your side mirrors. Many Ford vehicles have heated side mirrors for added convenience.
- Remember your cameras. If your car is equipped with rear back-up sensors or a camera, clear them regularly too.
Did you know, Ford dealers offer winter safety packages with four winter tires, four steel wheels and four tire pressure monitors that alert your dash when the tires need air. They’ll mount your tires for you, and store them at the dealership at the end of the season until you need them again next winter.