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.
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.
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.