Danmark
Mobil 1

05.10.2012

Cold and non-lubricated motor is a real gas glutton

Winter driving can be safe when the car is properly maintained from summer to winter. ExxonMobil and Nokian Tyres professionals Krister Kronqvist and Matti Morri who have made a long career among motoring go through the most common beliefs related to winter driving.

  • In winter, when more oil is consumed, the oil should be checked regularly
  • One cold start equates to driving for hundreds of kilometers
  • Summer tires cannot be used when the weather temperature is close to 0 degrees

Myth 1: One oil check before the winter is enough

According to ExxonMobil’s survey, only 8,5 % of Finnish drivers check their car’s oil every two weeks or more.

  • In the winter, more oil is always consumed, so it is important that during this time, motor oil checks occur at least once a month and that top ups happen when needed. Many car manufacturers recommend oil checks on even a weekly basis, says ExxonMobil Finland’s technical advisor Krister Kronqvist.

When the amount of motor oil is decreasing, the remaining oil faces more pressure and gets dirtier and runs out faster. It is important to top it up in order to maintain the car’s good performance rate.

  • Using synthetic motor oil can double the oil change intervals. However, it is important to take the car manufacturer’s recommendations into account as well, says Kronqvist.

Myth 2: Cold start-ups do not significantly increase fuel consumption

  • At its best, a pre-heated car consumes only half of the fuel compared to a cold started car within the first five kilometers. One cold start in frosty weather is equal to tens or even hundreds of kilometers and is not therefore economical or environmentally friendly, says Kronqvist.

In frosty weather it is important to take care that there is a heating pole and inside heater for the car. It is recommendable to choose synthetic motor oils because they run in the motor despite the frost, keep the engine clean and protect it from erosion.

Myth 3: Summer tires can be used until it is statutory to change to winter tires

  • Summer tires are designed for the summer. When the temperature get closer to zero, summer tires should be changed to winter tires even though it is obligatory only from the beginning of December onwards, says Nokian Tires Technical Customer Service Advisor Marri Morri.

When choosing tires it is good to be cautious if one heads for the stud free tires. Tires that are made for Central European winter are designed to be driven on wet and dry conditions and therefore they are not suitable for a northern winter. Tires with studs are still superior on ice; hence they are also more suitable for the Finnish winter.

Tire pressure should be regulated every three weeks. Higher pressure is recommended for winter tires because the cold weather decreases the tire pressure faster. When the pressure is optimal the tire spins easily, is better controlled and helps minimise fuel consumption.

  • It is important to remember that the traction of the tires is nine times better on dry asphalt than on frosty asphalt. Regardless of the tires, the driving style also needs to be adjusted to the weather conditions. Too fast situational speed is the most common reason for accidents and turn outs, concludes Morri.

Myth 4: Tires that are not of equal condition can be used

The winter tires’ condition should be reviewed much more carefully. Tires that have different wear should not be used on the same vehicle.

The difference between tires’ stud amount under the same car must not exceed the 25% limit. Better tires should be installed in the back of the car independent of whether the car has a front or back wheel-drive. However, it is recommended to change tires from front to back after every 8000 kilometers.

Myth 5: All coolants are suitable for all cars

  • Only the right kind of coolant liquid should be put into the radiator. It is important to check from the driver’s manual which coolant is suitable for the car, hints Kronqvist.

The coolant’s endurance should be at least -30 ºC in Finland. The endurance should be checked by using a density meter that can be found for example in car equipment stores.

Also, the mixing ratio of coolant and water should be checked from the car’s manual.

Other tips for winter driving:

  • Before heading off, check that the windshield fluid does not run out and that it is frost-resistant. If the fluid is too watery it can cause unpleasant surprises.
  • Keep an extra bottle of motor oil in the drunk.
  • Check the condition of the car’s battery.
  • Lubricate the car’s locks with lock oil before the weather gets too frosty.
  • Change windshields. The poorness of rundown shields will be emphasized in the wintery weather.
  • Check the condition of the car’s lights and brakes.
  • Check the pressure and the condition of the backup tire.
* 1312 18-65-year-old Finnish drivers took part in ExxonMobil’s survey executed by Taloustutkimus that looked into Finnish drivers’ car maintenance routines.

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