When did they invent the "Polar Vortex"? I do not believe that I had ever heard of such a thing until 2013. In case another polar vortex hits us this year, here are some tips to keep your vehicle in good shape through the hardest time of the year for it.
Winter Tires are Valuable
The rubber compound in all-season tires hardens when temps
drop below 44 F, causing them to lose
grip, whereas winter tires stay soft and stick to the road in sub-zero temperatures.
Be aware that road salt loses its grip below 20 F and is almost totally ineffective below 10 F, so always drive with extra care in severe cold.
Check Your Oil
Motor oil thickens when cold, making it harder for the
engine to turn over on the first start of the day. This is further exacerbated
by the fact that battery output drops by about half at 0 F. It also declines
gradually with age, so an older battery thatís fine in warm weather might fail
in the cold.
Thinner oil grades, an engine block heater or battery
blanket may aid cold-weather starting.
Wait to Turn on the Heat?
Older vehicles didnít provide cabin heat until the engine
had warmed enough to open the cooling system thermostat, which often took 20
minutes or so.
Heaters will delay engine warm-up. Newer autos supply
interior heat almost right away, but this, in turn, delays engine warm-up since
youíre siphoning off much-needed heat during those vital first few minutes.
Waiting 20 minutes before turning on your heater might save some gas, but
frankly, Iíd rather be warm.
Pay Attention to Your Windshield
Windshields will be more vulnerable to damage. Never use hot
water to clear a frosted windshield, as it could crack. Alcohol sprays, such as
Frost Buster, Prestone Heat or ordinary rubbing alcohol are safer alternatives.
These can also be added to washer fluid to increase freeze-up protection.
Blasting mega-hot air from your car defroster can also crack
a frozen windshield.
Engine Efficiency is Affected
Your engine runs least efficiently during the first 20
minutes or so after cold start-up, before it has warmed to operating
During this time, it runs rich (high gasoline-to-air ratio
to prevent stalling) and water vapor builds up in the motor oil and the exhaust
With repeated short trips in cold weather (e.g. taking kids
to/from school), the vehicle may never warm sufficiently to burn off
accumulated water vapor and you may notice sludge at the end of your dipstick.
Also, your exhaust system may rust prematurely, despite low mileage.
Short trips in cold weather are considered severe operation.
Highway driving is much easier on a vehicle, as all fluids and systems will
have warmed to operating temperature and are working at best possible
efficiency given the climate.
Overall fuel consumption will be higher in winter than
Tips on Protecting Your Engine
Your engine block will be more vulnerable to cracking due to
frozen coolant. Freeze-up protection can be checked with an inexpensive
Use the correct coolant type and mix when topping up. Donít
add plain water alone, as it will dilute the mixture and lessen freeze-up
protection. Donít mix regular (green, two-year) antifreeze with long-life
(yellow or reddish, five-year) coolant, since it reverts to the shorter
Areas We Service
Milford MI, Highland, Highland Township, Commerce, Commerce Township, South Lyon, Wixom, White Lake, Walled Lake, Waterford and New Hudson
We Enjoy Working on All Types of cars ~ Foreign & Domestic
While we are known for our drive-ability expertise and exhaust knowledge, we enjoy working on all types of cars.
Feel comfortable in bringing your vehicle to us ~ no matter the make or model.
Hours of Operation
We are open: Monday Ė Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.