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Tips for Keeping your Vehicle Warm in the Winter


By Brian Turner –

With the icy depths of winter approaching, more than a few of us Canadian drivers will complain about the quality of heat our vehicles’ climate control systems produce. Some of it’s justified, as we’re dealing with smaller powerplants under the hood with less heat-production abilities and thinner insulation as automakers chase weight savings.  And on the flip side, a lot of problems can be related to vehicle age when HVAC system passages can get clogged with build-up. And some of it’s just because we don’t react as well to cold for any number of reasons — but when trying to get a little more heat from the dash, there are some things that work and some to stay away from.

Thermostats. While Granddad might tell you to swap in a winter thermostat for your ride’s cold-bloodedness, those days ended with the advent of fuel injection. Engines, for the most part, run with only one temperature range of thermostat and installing a different one will wreak havoc with fuel injection.Thermostats can still fail from time to time; if they stick in the closed position, your engine will quickly overheat and in open mode, it will take hours of run time to get any warmth out of the vents.

Coolant level and condition. If your coolant level is low by a litre or two — average total capacity is 10 to 12 litres —the heater unit behind the dash can be almost empty during warm ups, thus providing no heat at all. Coolant levels vary with engine temp and it’s hard to get an accurate reading, but if the overflow bottle is extremely low, adding a litre or two of the correct type and concentration might be all you need to do.If it goes low again, get things checked for leaks and or consumption.

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