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Navigating Winter: Winter Car Care in Saskatchewan

As the biting cold sets in, temperatures plummet, wind chills turn painful, and the outdoors becomes a test of endurance. Few places understand the severity of cold quite like Saskatchewan, so here are a few things we recommend you do to stay safe this winter.

Driving an EV in the Cold

Operating an electric vehicle (EV) in cold weather impacts its efficiency and performance. Low temperatures slow down battery chemistry, reducing the energy available for acceleration. Maintaining an efficient battery temperature and warming the cabin consumes additional energy, resulting in decreased performance and potential reduction in range. In colder conditions, EVs can experience up to a 19 percent drop in efficiency compared to ideal weather.

Tire Pressure Drop

Cold temperatures cause tire pressure to drop as the air inside contracts. Regularly check tire pressure—weekly, preferably—to avoid underinflated tires. While some may assume lower pressure provides better traction, it can lead to uneven tread wear. Consider installing winter tires for better performance in harsh weather conditions.

Problem: Battery Drain

Winter significantly impacts batteries, often leading to a dead battery in extreme cold. Jumpstarting a vehicle is a quick fix, but to prevent this, maintain clean, corrosion-free connections and replace batteries older than three years. Consider using a battery warmer, especially in colder climates to prolong battery life.

Thickening Oil

In colder temperatures, oil thickens, making it difficult for the engine's oil pump to circulate properly. Switching to low-viscosity oil or synthetic oils recommended for cold weather helps improve startup performance and flow, particularly in temperatures as low as -40 Fahrenheit.

Ice Formation in Fuel Lines

While gasoline doesn't freeze in normal conditions, moisture in gas lines can turn into ice, potentially clogging the fuel pickup. Keeping the tank at least half full helps prevent this issue.

Sluggish Screens and Windshield Wipers

Liquid crystal display (LCD) screens and windshield wipers may become sluggish or brittle in extreme cold. Wait for the vehicle to warm up to alleviate screen sluggishness. Consider installing an engine-block heater to accelerate this process. Replace windshield wipers every six months or invest in winter wiper blades for better performance.

Frozen Windshield Interior

Ensure all defrosting and heating functions in the vehicle are in working order to prevent condensation and freezing on the inside of the windshield.

Ineffective Antifreeze

Aging or improperly mixed engine coolant becomes less effective in protecting the engine in harsh conditions. Use coolant designed for colder climates and avoid adding 100 percent antifreeze, as it has a higher freeze point when not mixed with water. Check coolant with a refractometer and replace it every two years.

"Snow Snakes" - Serpentine Belt Issues

Check the condition of belts, especially older serpentine belts prone to becoming brittle in extreme cold.

Winter in Saskatchewan demands a special level of care for your vehicle. By incorporating these tips into your routine and preparing your vehicle ahead of time, you can ensure a smoother and safer drive through the frozen roads of this beautiful province.

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Prepare Your Ride: 5 Winter Essentials Every Car Needs

Winter can be a beautiful season, but it also brings its fair share of challenges, especially on the roads. Ensuring your vehicle is equipped to handle the cold, icy conditions is crucial for both safety and comfort. Here are five essential items you should have in your vehicle to prepare for winter:

1. Emergency Kit

Winter weather can be unpredictable, and being stranded on the roadside in freezing temperatures is a scenario best avoided. Your emergency kit should include items like:

  • Blankets or Sleeping Bags: These will keep you warm if you're stuck for an extended period.
  • Flashlights and Extra Batteries: Essential for visibility in the dark or signaling for help.
  • Portable Charger or Power Bank: Ensure your phone or any other electronic devices remain charged.
  • First Aid Kit: Include basic medical supplies like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.
  • Non-perishable Snacks and Water: High-energy snacks like granola bars and nuts can provide sustenance if you're stuck for hours.
  • Flares or Reflective Triangles: These will help alert other drivers if you're stranded in a less visible area.

2. Snow and Ice Removal Tools

Clearing snow and ice off your vehicle is not just for visibility; it's also a safety necessity. Your winter kit should contain:

  • Snow Shovel: Helpful for digging out if you're stuck.
  • Ice Scraper and Snow Brush: Clear off your windshield, windows, and roof before driving.
  • Kitty Litter or Sand: Provide traction if your vehicle gets stuck in snow or ice.

3. Traction Aids

Sometimes, even with careful driving, roads can get treacherous. Traction aids can help you navigate safely through snow and ice:

  • Tire Chains or Snow Socks: Check if these are legal and recommended in your area and practice putting them on before you actually need them.
  • Traction Mats: Provide instant traction if your vehicle gets stuck in snow.

4. Winter Fluids and Maintenance Tools

Ensure your vehicle is prepared to handle the cold weather by having:

  • Antifreeze: Ensure your coolant is appropriate for winter temperatures.
  • Windshield Washer Fluid: Choose one rated for sub-zero temperatures to prevent freezing.
  • Basic Tools: A multipurpose toolset can help with minor repairs or adjustments.

5. Communication Devices

Staying connected is vital in emergencies. Make sure you have:

  • Charged Mobile Phone: Keep it fully charged and have a car charger as a backup.
  • Emergency Radio: In case of loss of cell signal, an emergency radio can be a lifesaver.

Remember, it's not just about having these items in your vehicle; it's also about regularly checking and maintaining them throughout the winter season. It's wise to familiarize yourself with how to use these tools and equipment before you actually need them in an emergency. Being prepared can make all the difference when facing the challenges of winter driving. Stay safe out there!

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Demystifying Electric Vehicle Terminology: A Beginner’s Guide

The electric vehicle (EV) revolution is in full swing, and if you're considering making the switch to an electric vehicle or just want to better understand the world of EVs, this guide to common electric vehicle terminology is here to help you decode the jargon.


EV - Electric Vehicle

Let's begin with the fundamental concept. An EV, which stands for Electric Vehicle, is any vehicle that primarily relies on electricity as its source of power. Unlike traditional gasoline or diesel vehicles, EVs utilize electricity to drive an electric motor.

BEV - Battery Electric Vehicle

Battery Electric Vehicles, commonly referred to as BEVs, represent the purest form of electric vehicles. They operate exclusively on an onboard battery pack and electric motor, devoid of any internal combustion engine (ICE). As a result, BEVs produce zero tailpipe emissions and depend on charging infrastructure for refueling.

PHEV - Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles, or PHEVs, occupy a unique space in the world of electric mobility. They marry an electric motor with an internal combustion engine (usually gasoline), offering the versatility of both power sources. PHEVs can be charged via a plug, providing electric-only driving for a limited range before the gasoline engine automatically engages for longer journeys.

HEV - Hybrid Electric Vehicle

Hybrid Electric Vehicles, or HEVs, also combine an electric motor with an internal combustion engine. However, unlike PHEVs, HEVs cannot be charged externally. Instead, they rely on regenerative braking to replenish the battery and assist the engine, enhancing fuel efficiency and reducing emissions.

EV Tax Credit

In many regions, governments are actively promoting the adoption of electric vehicles by offering incentives like EV tax credits. These incentives typically come in the form of tax credits or rebates, effectively reducing the overall cost of purchasing an EV. It's a financial encouragement for those considering making the transition to electric mobility.

Understanding these five essential electric vehicle terms will empower you to navigate the EV landscape more confidently. Whether you're contemplating the purchase of an EV or simply want to stay informed about the evolving world of electric mobility, this knowledge is your key to understanding the language of EVs. As the EV revolution continues to reshape the automotive industry and pave the way for a sustainable future, being conversant in these terms will help you make informed decisions and contribute to a greener, more electrified world of transportation.

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ryleyk, Author at Sherwood Chevrolet

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