For Canadian motorists it’s no secret that cold temperatures make life more difficult for cars. In wintertime, it is essential to properly equip and maintain your vehicle – not only for safety reasons but also to optimize performance and avoid consuming more fuel. The latter is what we’re tackling with these tips.
No one wants to spend more on gas than absolutely necessary, to be sure. So read on: these five surefire tricks from Auto123.com will help you save at the fuel pump right up until spring hits!
1. Properly inflated tires
When the temperatures plunge in winter, air pressure in the tires decreases significantly, to the tune of 1 psi in for each 6 degrees Celcius. Underinflated tires increase rolling resistance and can cause consumption to go up by between 10% and 20%. You should regularly check your tire pressure, and consult your owner’s manual to see the recommended pressure. Ideally, wait for four hours after driving before checking the pressure, and if possible only when the outside temperature is above -10 degrees.
2. Avoid running the engine needlessly
Running the engine for several minutes to heat up the vehicle does little but cost you gas and money. In fact, today’s vehicle engines do not need to be warmed up for long, even in cold temperatures. Idling the engine for 30 to 60 seconds is more than enough; after that, drive gently for the five kilometres. If your car doesn’t have heated seats and you’re averse to freezing your buns, you can buy a heated cushion.
3. Block heater
When the engine is extremely cold, oil flows less easily and it takes more gas. Using a block heater a couple of hours during the night allows the engine to attain ideal running temperature more quickly in the morning. In the long run, this will save you an appreciable amount of gas.
4. Plan your errands and outings
As we mentioned, a cold engine needs more time to warm up and function optimally, which means it doesn’t particularly like short little errands. Try planning your errands and outings in advance so that you spend more of your time driving with a warmed-up engine… and less of your time stopping at the pump!
5. The bare minimum
Many kilograms worth of ice, slush and debris accumulate under your vehicle, increasing fuel consumption. Take a moment to kick off the bigger accumulations; it’ll lighten the load, in addition to which it’s satisfying as heck! Visit a car wash on a regular basis if possible. Inside, an emergency kit is an essential piece of equipment in wintertime, but otherwise you should remove any items that are not essential and serve only to weigh down the vehicle. As well, try to avoid blasting the heat at maximum, and remember to turn off the heating for the steering wheel and the seats once you’re comfortable.