- Really - Cold weather effects on cars

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For those of you who have not spend a COLD winter somewhere,
you really can't imagine what it's like for your car.

When I say cold, I mean, when -20 degrees celcius is common.
And -30 C occasionally.  Plus wind chill that can and will
give your face or fingers frostbite in MINUTES if
they are not covered up.  There are many reports of homeless
people freezing to death up here.

-40 Celcius = -40 farenhite, so you should get the idea
how cold I'm talking about if you think in farenhite.

One big thing is that rubber actually expands in the cold,
unlike other elements.


"Rubber is a solid that contracts upon heating. A large rubber band,
held taught by a
suspended mass, will contract when heated with a heat gun"

"Rubber is another material that tends to contract upon heating.
Long molecules, stretched when cold, but bent when heated."

Find some experiments here:

When I lived in the middle of Canada before and fixed the Fords,
we had a number of issues.

New alternator belt installed in the summer, worked fine til winter.
It needed to be re tightened in winter.  Because the rubber belt
had lengthened in the deep cold.

Tire pressure goes way down in winter.  From 32 to 20 PSI or less.
More air needs to be added when it gets cold.
And bled out in the spring.

Because in winter, the rubber tires expand, at the same time
the air contracts.

But first, you have to be careful to bleed the air hose of any
water vapor, because it will freeze in your valve otherwise.
Then you can't fill or deflate your tires until it's warm.

Once I didn't bleed the tires soon enough in the spring. The
tire pressure went over 45 PSI.  On the summer road trip, even
though the pressures were back in spec, one tire blew out.
Fortunately, I avoided an accident.

Another effect in really cold weather, -25 celsius and lower.
Rubber tires on some aluminum rims just won't hold an air seal.
Because the aluminum contracts, and the rubber expands.
This happened on a co worker's Miata.  He returned to the
shop multiple times.  Some people will just give up, and get steel
rims for the winter. Steel has less thermal expansion/contraction than

Another effect, unrelated to rubber.  The oil in the car will
freeze like hard ice cream.  This makes the engine very difficult
to turn over fast enough to start.  AT the same time,
the strength of the battery has gone way down in the cold.

On really cold days, if it didn't start on the first few
tries, forget it.  The battery had no more juice to
push through the hard oil, and the crankshaft
doesn't even turn. The solenoid just clicks.  So, we used at
least 600 cold cranking amps. And rebuilt the carb in the
summer, so that it worked perfectly the first time in the winter.

That's why we have block heaters, which boil the antifreeze,
which melts the oil.  Someone suggested that we change
our license plates to say: In block heaters we trust.

Another problem:  gas lines getting frozen.  After I drove
my car back to Canada, the southern windshield wiper
antifreeze froze up, even though it was rated to -20 C.
I had to park the car in a heated garage for a day to
get it to work again.

If you like, you're welcome to come try a winter up north.
You can do what I did once.  I'll take you to the junkyard at
-30 celcius.  You can lay on your back on the cold ground,
and pull out a power steering rack. BTW, many of the operations
require bare hands, because many things you can't do
through your gloves or mitts!

So unless you have spent a cold winter as I've described,
you're just a cold weather virgin, with no experience yet.   :)

Re: - Really - Cold weather effects on cars

On Feb 19, 12:03=A0am, condor snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:
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 Hey buddy, air contracts when cold, wake up thats why tires loose

 Block heaters can not boil antifreeze they dont have the power,
design or need to, Oil doesnt melt because it doesnt actualy freeze it
just gets thicker and thicker as it gets colder, if your oil is that
thick when cold you should have been using a 0w 30 or 5-30 Synthetic
because you get Zero lubrication if its to thick and the motor starves
and bypasses the filter. And thickness increases as it get colder even
at +30 f some regular oils are very thick

  Aluminum contracts when cold so does steel, and crappy aluminum rims
leak, its not an aluminum issue.

 My belts dont get wobbly and loose at -25 to -30f nododys here do,
and you the first kook to post so much nonsence.

 If your gas freezes its crappy gas, as all might be, but Alcohol
added cures that nicely, Denatured by the gallon for about 15$ [ im on
my second gallon] works great as does that stuff every gas station
carries even where it never gets below 10f in the US, its called
simply Gas Line Antifreeze

Re: - Really - Cold weather effects on cars

condor snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in

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Heated HOW HOT? Was the "heat gun" the sort used for paint stripping?
This makes all the difference in the world. If you use a heat source
that heats a substance so that it changes its molecular or polymeric
structure, then of course you can get corresponding dimensional changes.

Styrofoam shrinks like crazy when thrown into a fire, but that tells you
nothing about how it behaves between -40F and +70F, when it undergoes no
permanent structural changes.

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The poster on that forum has not specified what kind of rubber, natural
or synthetic. This is of critical importance. Chances are that he's
referring to natural rubber.

The two categories of "rubber" are NOT equivalent, and there are
different kinds of "rubber" within each category..

Automotive V-belts are not made of natural rubber, but of synthetic
rubber. Synthetic rubbers have vastly different properties from natural
rubber, and in fact were developed in order to correct some serious
deficiencies in natural rubber.

In addition to all this, V-belts have a fabric carcass; they do not
stretch, but they do suffer from SURFACE WEAR and GLAZE, which causes
them to loosen and slip over time.

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This experiment involves FRICTIONAL heating imparted by stretching the
rubber band by hand, a different principle from the application of an
outside heat suorce.


Re: - Really - Cold weather effects on cars

On 02/18/2010 10:03 PM, condor snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:
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that's spelled "f-a-h-r-e-n-h-e-i-t".  htf can you make sense of science
experiments if you can't even spel?

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that's spelled "t-a-u-t".  "taught" is something you clearly never were.

for the rest of the class, note carefully - the rubber is "held taut"

rubber that is "held taut" does indeed contract when heated - elongated
rubber molecules acquire more energy to bunch up and contract.  but
relaxed rubber, given that its molecules are already bunched up, does
not contract when heated - it's back to positive temperature coefficient.


tire rubber is mostly relaxed, not elongated.

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note again, "stretched when cold".  as in, "held taut".  relaxed rubber
does not do this.  fiber reinforced rubber [like tires and accessory
belts] does not do this either.

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yeah - "ford" was one of them.

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so, of course, it hadn't worn in the intervening months.  no siree!

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wow dude, you're really grasping at straws there.  yes, air pressure
goes down with temperature, but the tire elastomers are reinforced with
steel and polyester/nylon [etc] fibers.  the fibers dominate the
physical dimensions.  they have positive temperature coefficients [at
normal operation temperatures], not negative.

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i think the air in /your/ tires was being heated by more than the summer

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dude, please, will you stop?

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so use synthetics - it's what they were invented for.

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my definition of "no experience" is some dude posting a bunch of crap on
usenet about physical properties when they can't even spell the stuff,
let alone bother to understand the actual science.

nomina rutrum rutrum

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