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post #9 of (permalink) Old 20th October 2005
Dark Jupiter
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Post Ahh, Now This Is Weather I Understand.

Up here in the ARTIC it gets well not exactly c-c-cold more like f-f-freezing. A fortuitous bit of timing to see this thread as I have just begun to prepare for my first winter here with a car. I must add that I am a tad nervous after experiencing last winter as a passenger. Although I have taken the Swedish driving licence test which includes the compulsory section of ice driving (in winter you are tested on ice, in summer on a skid pan sprayed with oil and water - brilliant fun).

For clarity up here winter lasts from November until the end of April, guaranteed snow and ice all the time. In actual fact we drive on top of the ice for about 5 months, hell we even drive on the sea out to the islands in the archipelago. The absolute worst time of the year is spring when the day time temperature occasionally goes up to zero or +2 degrees and then drops below zero at night and all the next day. All the melted water forms a perfect glass surface and which cannot even be walked on safely never mind drive and yet everybody still does.

In north Sweden we have a compulsory seasonal change from summer to winter tyres and back again every year. The tyres have a special thread and also incorporate metal spikes. Rather than change tyres on the hub everybody has two sets of wheels. When you buy a car here it usually comes with winter and summer wheels and tyres. It is starting to freeze at night now so the mornings can be icy, thankfully I changed my wheels yesterday.

I have changed the glycol for the second time in as many months. The first time was directly after I bought the car and the levels were very low. (I had an initial problem which I posted here.) The first glycol was from Shell (green colour), however I was advised by a friend and mechanic (does that sound odd?) to change over to the recommended Renault glycol (Yellow colour) because of the potential for metal corrosion within the cooling system by using the incorrect glycol (i.e. non Renault recommended). I have now done this.

The glycol is Renault RX Type D. The average winter temperature day to day here is about –5 to –15 with extremes of temperature up to and beyond –40. Typical glycol /water mixture is 50/59. Therefore in my 7 litre system I added 3.5 litres of both fluids. With such a huge temperature range it is difficult to ensure that all extremes are covered. However the 50/50 mix will prevent any problems should the temperature drop to –40. The water will not freeze but become more gelatinous in consistency.

When the temperature drops below about –15 we must place a piece of cardboard in front of the radiator when driving as cold air passing through the radiator grill quickly cools the cooling fluid and it becomes too gelatinous to flow or even freeze and can cause overheating problems. This is due to the wind chill factor at speed lowering the temperature rapidly.

I shall change the wipers for winter also. (HD462 has given some good advice for older Laguna’s here). At night you have to pull the wipers off the windscreen. If you do not there is they will freeze to the glass. This is a bit of a problem for an estate car as the rear wiper when lifted out extends backwards and there is a risk that someone could accidentally walk or drive into it and snap it off. In addition I have filled the windscreen reservoir with a Shell windscreen cleaner that is blended with water 50/50 and will work to between –30 and -40.

Heated seats are also quite common. I bought my car with faulty heated seats. The problem appears to be a short circuit in either the switch or a problem with the element in the seat cushion. I do not relish the thought of fixing this. Needs must however and a bit of work is better than a cold back and bum any day. I have found instructions on the web on how to access and repair this problem. I am extremely cautious due to the presence of the car seat side air bags. Once I have the repair completed I will post it here hopefully with pictures. (Or with pictures of my broken nose if the bag explodes in my face).

I have not checked the oil , battery or even thought about a engine tune up. I am glad you mentioned these things as I will look into them before the snow comes.

In such extremes of cold a breakdown in a remote place could spell disaster as the weather here really conspires to kill you, therefore the list of items that I intend to keep in the car for emergencies is;

1. Two sleeping bags.
2. Axe.
3. Military shovel (folds away).
4. Torch.
5. Fuel can.
6. Water, warm drinks and food each trip outside of town.
7. Possibly flares if we go skiing off the beaten track. (Obviously not next to the petrol).

Lastly most cars here have a motor warmer installed next to the engine in the engine compartment. This intermittently warms the engine and compartment. The power source is external. You connect a female socket that is on the front of the car to a lead with a male/female connectors. This in turn is connected to an external AC supply and the engine warmer is regulated by either a timer or thermostat. The supply is either a socket in your garage, a purpose built external electric feed at your work place or in apartment parking, places feeds that can be rented annually. These electric points are very common. In addition the electric feed runs to a second socket installed inside the main car compartment on the front passenger side. Into his an additional warmer can be connected so the inside of the car can also be heated. Once again this is controlled by either a timer or thermostat.

Besides all of the above the local government spend a lot of money (Our money) on snow ploughs (from the very small to juggernaut size), sanding machines etc These guys work 24/7 to keep the roads clear in nightmare conditions. I find it incredible that everything works so smoothly especially when I remember the way traffic comes to a standstill in the UK when there is was bad weather for a week!

Well that’s my diatribe on the impending winter. Absolutely of no help to anyone but I hope in some way informative. When you guys down there in the tropics think its a bit cold maybe you can remember that some folks have it that little bit colder.


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Last edited by Dark Jupiter; 20th October 2005 at 09:07 PM. Reason: Add a picture
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