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Old 12-28-2013, 03:42 PM   #1
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Question for people who live in very cold areas.

After reading this link (coldest spots in the world)
BBC News - Life in extreme cold around the world

.....I remembered that I've always wondered how people who live in Canada, Alaska, Northern US cope with the cold weather vis a vis their cars.

I've heard that there are often heaters for people to plug their cars into. I don't know if that's true or not and would like to know from the people who live there. (There seem to be a lot of Canadians at DC.)

That and other survival technique questions from a person who thinks 32 degrees is unbearable.
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Old 12-28-2013, 03:46 PM   #2
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I have a friend that lives in the Yukon where it regularly gets below -40 (f or c...it really doesn't matter at that point :) ) She has electric plug in heaters mounted to certain parts of her truck, like the oil pan and other key areas, and keeps it plugged in overnight.
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Old 12-28-2013, 04:07 PM   #3
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It gets pretty cold here in Minnesota. In fact, tomorrow night they are predicting -17F (-27C). I guess that qualifies as "cold enough".

When I was growing up, you used to see a lot of engine block heaters, and I've owned a couple of cars that had them. Believe me, there were mornings that, even with the block heater, the engine struggled to turn over.

I don't see them as much anymore, though. I think the auto manufacturers these days are building lighter, more efficient engines, that start right up on the first crank. I once had a Toyota Camry parked outside a hotel up in northern Minnesota on a -31F (-35C) night and it started up no problem in the morning.
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Old 12-28-2013, 06:09 PM   #4
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Long underwear. Hats, mitts, gloves, scarves, tuques, warm socks, warm boots, warm coat or jacket.

Like Steve, I seldom see cars plugged in anymore. The outdoor parking spots at my condo have electrical outlets for each car. My car, and the previous two didn't have block heaters and it was never a problem. Back in the late '70s/early '80s my car would start in serious cold, but I had to let it heat up for 15-30 minutes. Turn on the defroster while the engine is cold, so the glass warms up at the same time as the air instead of risking cracking when the cold glass gets hit by a blast of hot air.

Other than block heaters, we load our cars with winter survival gear. Snow shovel, snow brush (for brushing snow off the car/windshield/windows), ice scraper, blanket, candles, winter washer fluid, and probably some stuff I don't remember. I usually have more than one snow brush, so my passengers can help. I consider winter tires essential. Oh yeah, traction aids are useful for when you get stuck in snow.

If it's below 0 Fahrenheit (-18 C), wait to go outside until after your hair dries after washing it. It won't dry outside. It will just freeze solid. I've actually met foreign visitors who found out the hard way.

Don't lick any metal.
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Old 12-28-2013, 06:16 PM   #5
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I have often see diesel trucks with their engines running while the driver stopped for a meal. Diesel is harder to start in the cold with heavier oil, a heavier engine, and no spark plugs.
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Old 12-28-2013, 06:48 PM   #6
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All the things Taxy said, plus three days worth of canned food, full water bottles, camp stove with sterno, matches, lighters, bag full of dryer lint , sleeping bags for each person riding, extra clothes for layering and good boots. Never know when you will get stuck and need to walk out. I also buy extra cat litter and just store it in the car for the winter, it adds weight and can be used for traction.

I've seen block heaters, but never used one.
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Old 12-28-2013, 06:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessFiona60 View Post
All the things Taxy said, plus three days worth of canned food, full water bottles, camp stove with sterno, matches, lighters, bag full of dryer lint , sleeping bags for each person riding, extra clothes for layering and good boots. Never know when you will get stuck and need to walk out. I also buy extra cat litter and just store it in the car for the winter, it adds weight and can be used for traction.

I've seen block heaters, but never used one.
What's the dryer lint for?

Yeah, I forgot to mention matches.

I have tried using cat litter for traction. The cat litter starts to dissolve and makes a slippery, clay mess. If it is extremely cold, maybe the cat litter doesn't dissolve, but the heat from the pressure of the weight of the car tends to melt the snow and ice.
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Old 12-28-2013, 06:59 PM   #8
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Dryer lint is for fire starter. I like to melt a little paraffin into it.
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Old 12-28-2013, 07:29 PM   #9
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Dryer lint is for fire starter. I like to melt a little paraffin into it.
And use a paper egg carton to contain the wax and lint and you've got an excellent fire starter
Break them into individual piece and light the paper carton. It will carry over into the lint and wax.
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Old 12-28-2013, 07:40 PM   #10
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And use a paper egg carton to contain the wax and lint and you've got an excellent fire starter
Break them into individual piece and light the paper carton. It will carry over into the lint and wax.
Now you're talking. We used to make them out of the half pint milk cartons, from the milk served at school.
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Old 12-28-2013, 08:41 PM   #11
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3 days of canned food. Certainly makes sense, but I'd bring a can opener too. LOL
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Old 12-28-2013, 08:43 PM   #12
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3 days of canned food. Certainly makes sense, but I'd bring a can opener too. LOL
That's in there, too!
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Old 12-28-2013, 09:04 PM   #13
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Now you're talking. We used to make them out of the half pint milk cartons, from the milk served at school.
You must habr built bigger fires
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Old 12-28-2013, 09:12 PM   #14
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We used to use empty milk cartons, back when they were coated with wax. I would be afraid to burn today's plastic coated milk cartons.
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Old 12-28-2013, 09:27 PM   #15
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You must habr built bigger fires
They were only about an inch thick. Used to add sawdust, too!

Quote:
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We used to use empty milk cartons, back when they were coated with wax. I would be afraid to burn today's plastic coated milk cartons.
I wouldn't think of using the plastic ones unless it was just as a mold. School with milk served was in the 60's for me if that helps with a time frame.
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Old 12-28-2013, 09:51 PM   #16
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My mom had a '92 Buick that wouldn't start below 15 degrees F, so she had a block heater. I remember they drove it down here and someone asked them if it was an electric car because they saw the plug dangling underneath!

I remember on below zero days, if I didn't let my car idle for 10-15 minutes before driving it, I would have to wait for the automatic transmission to shift, like it was moving through cold molasses. Shift into reverse, wait 15 or so seconds for it to get there, shift into drive, wait another 10-15 seconds.
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:25 PM   #17
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My car has a block heater. I don't need to use it now as the car is garaged, but a few times before having a garage when we had a week or two of really cold weather I would plug It in and it made a huge difference in how easy the car was to start and how fast the heater started pumping warm air. That was a bonus as I didn't work very far away and the car would still be cold when I arrived at work, when it hadn't been plugged in. Brrrr! It has also been handy sometimes visiting family in colder climbs and on ski trips. The car was two years old when we bought it and we didn't realize right away that it had a block heater.
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:47 PM   #18
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Our area isn't really cold enough to warrant a block heater. However, it's cold enough in the winter and hot enough in the summer to justify a remote starter.

Remote starters are great for having a nice warm car to get into in the winter or to start melting the snow and ice off the windows before you go out to clean snow off the car. In the summer, you never have to get into a super hot car that's been sitting in the sun all day. Think shorts and hot leather seats.
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:54 PM   #19
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I once had a diesel car that had glow plugs. There was a plug and cord to power them.

I now have a truck with remote start and love it. Its nice to have a cool cab in summer and a warm one in winter.
It will run 15 minutes before it will shut itself off.
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
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All the things Taxy said, plus three days worth of canned food, full water bottles, camp stove with sterno, matches, lighters, bag full of dryer lint , sleeping bags for each person riding, extra clothes for layering and good boots. Never know when you will get stuck and need to walk out. I also buy extra cat litter and just store it in the car for the winter, it adds weight and can be used for traction.

I've seen block heaters, but never used one.
Is three days enough? Some areas of Michigan are still without power over a week after the ice storm on Dec. 21.

When I lived in Michigan, my stepmother suggested keeping a coffee can containing a baggie of tea lights and matches in the car during the winter. Light a tea light in the coffee can and it will keep the entire inside of the car warm. Handy if you have to stay in the car for an extended period.
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