Getting car fluids ready for winter

car-fluid-winterApart from snow, there’s another obvious way to figure out winter has settled in: everything around start freezing. And believe it or not, your car might freeze too and refuse to start in a cold December morning. Most of the time, the issue resides in improperly maintained engine fluids. Using proper engine oil and antifreeze goes a long way in keeping your car ready to go on winter days. Here’s a more detailed approach on the subject.

Engine oil

As you probably know by now, engines use oil to lubricate internal components in motion, reducing friction and allowing for extended usage accompanied by minimum wear. The main characteristic of engine oil is viscosity. There are two SAE values for viscosity encapsulated on all oil containers. Usually, the markings are XWXX, where X is replaced by a particular number.

Let’s take for example a 5W10 oil. The first number (5) represents the cold viscosity of the oil at zero degrees Celsius in the SAE system. The lower the value, the less viscous the oil is. However, as the oil heats up due to the heat radiated by the engine, such a low viscosity would not provide proper lubrication and generate wear. This is why, when heat up to a temperature similar to the one of the engine, the oil switches to a higher SAE viscosity, in this case 40.

So, what has all this to do with winter? Quite a lot, actually. As temperatures drop, using an engine oil with a rather high SAE viscosity value at 0 degrees may cause the engine to crank slowly or not crank at all. Check your car’s owner manual for the right oil viscosity values to be used during winter driving.

Keep in mind that old oil will lose lubrication properties and may become more viscous than its original SAE value. Given this, it’s a good idea to change your car’s engine oil and oil filter before winter sets in.

Antifreeze

winterYour car relies on coolant to keep engine temperature at a steady value where it provides maximum yield. On the other hand, as winter sets in, very low temperatures may cause coolant to freeze within the piping and the radiator. If this happens, your car’s cooling pump will be overloaded and eventually fail resulting in a costly replacement.

Antifreeze fluid alters the freezing and boiling point of your engine coolant, allowing it to remain in a liquid state even below freezing temperature of water. Depending on the area you live in, you may require a higher antifreeze concentration in the coolant (Canadians for example may have to use 100% antifreeze). Check with your local car shop to figure out the proper antifreeze concentration as a function of mean winter temperatures in your area.

Windshield washing fluid

Apart from oil and antifreeze, windshield washing fluid plays a vital role in allowing your car to run in winter conditions. Unlike summer washer, the fluid used to clean your windshield during the winter acts as antifreeze so it won’t lock the washing installation, but also provides defrosting capabilities. If you can’t keep your car inside a garage during winter nights, the windshield will eventually freeze making it impossible to see through. Proper washing fluid will remove the ice and allow wipers to move it away from sight.

As you can see, taking care of your car’s fluids will take you one step further in making sure your 4-wheeled companion will have no trouble taking on snowy roads and cold temperatures.

Compare Prices on Car Insurance

Car theftBefore you buy car insurance you should compare prices on car insurance. You may not recognize how valuable this one step can be until you witness it yourself. There are plenty of good solid options for car insurance many you would never be exposed to unless you compare prices on car insurance plans.

A lot of people make the grave mistake of just settling for the first plan they are offered. This is one of the biggest financial mistakes you can make. You wind up paying more than you have to pay. When you take the time to compare the prices you are allowing car insurance carriers to battle for your business by offering you better rates!

Comparing car insurance options is an absolute necessity if you want to save money!

In many countries around the world you can compare prices car insurance using sites like Bilforsikring and Money Supermarket

It Is Fast

You an compare prices on car insurance online in minutes. All you need to do is to provide some simple information about yourself and the type of car you are insuring. The entire process takes about 15 minutes or less.

Those few minutes will not only save you money but will also help you to get a more comprehensive plan. If you have car insurance right now you can probably find a better plan for less money. If you are looking for car insurance right now you can easily find a plan that fits your needs that you can afford in 15 minutes or less.

 It is Free

Why would you not compare prices on car insurance? It is free to do. You do not have to pay for the information as a matter of fact insurance carriers are happy to provide you with free quotes for car insurance.

These quotes are comprehensive meaning that provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision. Reviewing quotes is an easy way to see exactly what a plan has to offer without you ever having to leave home and it costs you nothing.

 It is Convenient

Comparing prices for car insurance is one of the most convenient things you can do to save money. You can do it day or night from home if you use the internet to compare your options. You do not have to spend more money than you have to.

There is simply no excuse not to save money! You can compare prices on car insurance and save money in minutes by using these sites and other:

Money.Msn

Insurance.com

Esurance

 

Gas Prices in The US

We want ze money, Lebowski!Gas Prices In The US Vary Across States

Anyone who has lived in different states or has ventured on an interstate road trip would know that gas prices vary across states in the country. Very few states have exactly the same gas prices. Some states have much higher gas prices than others. Even within a state, different brands retailing gasoline are likely to charge different rates.

To give you an idea of the varying gas prices across the country, New York and California have the most expensive gas prices while states like Texas, some states in the Midwest and some central states have the lowest gas prices. The gas prices in New York and California are as much as $20 more than the lowest prices in Texas and some central and Midwest states. There are many reasons why gas prices vary across the country.

The first major reason why gas prices vary across states is because of the local taxes. Some states levy a higher local tax and that naturally hikes up the gas prices. For example, California charges a tax of 10 cents more than what is taxed in Illinois. This tax rate is per gallon of gas. Illinois itself has a tax which is 25 cents more than the tax in Wyoming. In effect, California charges 35 cents more tax per gallon than what is charged in Wyoming. The tax rates are consequential but they are not the only factor determining the differing gas prices.

Some states have more stringent environmental regulations. This requires drivers to use premium quality refined gasoline or additives that can substantially reduce carbon footprints and other agents of pollution. Such regulations are mostly prevalent and demandingly stringent in metropolises and naturally the more populated and urbanized states have higher gas prices.

On a Pan-American basis, you would notice that gas prices are the highest in east coast and west coast. Northern Midwest states charge much less than the coasts and the southern Midwest states charge the least. Although there are some east coast states that also have low gas prices.

The other major factor that drives up gas prices in most states is the aspect of transportation. States in the hinterland are closer to locally available crude oil and they are easily transported to refineries. States on the coast incur higher transportation costs and thus the gas prices shoot up.

Given the economy and realities of gas prices, they would remain to be different across states as they are now and the differences may keep increasing.

photo by: Schill