As Canadians, we’re well accustomed to the long, harsh winters that come every year. I mean, we’re talking about a country whose favourite sport requires ice to even be able to play properly. In addition to that ice and the snow we’re going to get any time now, we’re also going to have to deal with the special driving conditions it brings…
There’s no way around the awful road conditions the winter weather is sure to bring, but there ARE some things you can do to your car to make getting through it a little easier and safer.
BUT THESE ARE NOT THEM.
DISCLAIMER: I probably shouldn’t have to tell you this, but DO NOT attempt anything on your car that you see depicted here. These are for comic relief only. If you do attempt anything, you’ll likely damage your car, and the last thing I need is someone complaining that their engine block is cracked because I told them to replace their coolant with water. Don’t do that!
With that out of the way, let’s have a look at some of the Best Worst Advice out there!
The first one I saw this season was this one:
In doing a little research for this blog, I actually discovered that this doesn’t necessarily cause the kind of harm that most people think. According to HowStuffWorks.com, it might clog the filter a bit, but won’t transform the gas into a gel that doesn’t flow. They also suggest using water in the gas tank if you really want to ruin someone’s day. In the winter, that would be a double-whammy since it would freeze into ice. But please, for the sake of decency, don’t do that to anyone you know! Or anyone at all! Here’s another one I came across:
I figured it was common sense that coolant does NOT do the same thing as oil, but this person proved me wrong.
There’s plenty of bad advice out there still floating around. I’ll share these with you, but first you need to promise me you won’t try to do any of these things to your car – there’s a good chance you’ll damage the car and potentially injure yourself and others on the road. So again, DO NOT DO anything you see here!
While some of these might seem like logical tips, they’re not really… Here’s what I think when I see each of them:
1. Ever had a wheel fall off your car while driving? If not, loosening all your wheel nuts is a good way to make sure you DO experience it – or at the very least, a very annoying shaking and banging sound.
2. Instant snow traction?! More like instant flat tire. Yes, you can buy studded tires (though I think they might be illegal in Ontario), but trying to create your own using screws will ensure you need to buy yourself a new set of snow tires – and they’re usually in short supply this time of year.
3. This one is one of the less risky pieces of advice here. Putting sandpaper on your windshield wipers may help you get through the ice buildup marginally quicker, but if you leave it on there long enough, you’ll end up with a nicely scratched windshield as a result.
4. Don’t ever swap out your coolant for straight water! Well, in the summertime, it’s not as big a deal… But there’s a reason the terms “coolant” and “anti-freeze” are interchangeable – because coolant doesn’t freeze. It should be common sense that water expands when it freezes. If you’ve got water running through the coolant lines and the weather goes down below freezing, that water is going to freeze, and the expansion of it could potentially crack your engine block – and that means it’s time for a new engine.
5. You probably shouldn’t touch your brake fluid at all. Leave that to your mechanic. Apparently someone actually followed this advice and had to take their car in for service. If you do this, you’ve got the potential to seriously mess up your braking system – putting not only yourself at risk, but everyone else you encounter on the road. Like I said – leave that stuff to your mechanic.
6. This is basic thermodynamics. Any extreme, rapid change in temperature in glass is going to shatter it. I found this out the hard way as a youngster when I took a glass baking pan out of the oven, removed its contents, and put it in the sink to be washed. The water I poured into it was such an extreme change from the temperature in the oven (big surprise) that the pan broke in half (or maybe even more pieces, I can’t remember). I learned my lesson there, and have not done anything similar since. Don’t do this to your windshield, or you’ll be paying for a new one – and they’re not exactly cheap.
7. Again, something that kind of makes sense until you think about it a little more. Do you get your car undercoated? If so, why? Because it helps prevent rust from forming on the unprotected steel parts underneath the car. On the body, the paint helps prevent the oxidation of the metal below. What speeds up the oxidation process? Road salt. So by spraying a saltwater mixture into your door locks, you’re actively trying to rust them out quickly, which will ultimately result in them falling apart and not working, and you being locked out of your car.
8. This one is another thing that astounds me. If you’ve never connected the two terminals of your car battery, you’re doing it right. It’s never a good idea to short-circuit a battery, especially a car battery. Here’s a little demonstration of what happens:
9. Remember in James Bond films or Inspector Gadget when there would be a car chase, and whoever was in the lead would lay out an oil slick on the ground? That has a couple of functions. First, it’ll cause the cars behind you to spin out (in theory), and secondly, a black oily spray on the windshield makes it hard to see. Do you really want to do that to yourself?
10. Summer air, winter air… It’s all air. Cold air contracts, but expands as it heats up. As long as your tires have around 32-35 psi in your tires at any given time, you should be okay.
11. This one should be pretty obvious… If you leave your headlights on all night without the engine running, you’re going to kill your battery and make it particularly hard to get to work in the morning… Unless you have another car to boost yours from.
12. Okay, this is DEFINITELY common sense. Spraying water on your driveway WILL make it so snow doesn’t stick to your driveway, but that’s because it’ll be covered with ice. It won’t cause any damage to your car or make it any harder to drive. It will just hugely increase the probability of you slipping and falling on your ass on the way to your car in the morning.
13. Don’t EVER run your engine with oil! Oil won’t freeze in cold weather, although it will certainly be a little thicker and won’t flow nearly as well. If you keep the engine running while the oil drains, you will cause major damage to your engine. Think about it: The oil lubricates the inside of the cylinder as the piston goes up and down in it, maintaining a smooth movement and smooth power. When you remove the oil from the situation, the piston won’t glide nearly as smoothly through the cylinder, and ultimately, you could cause your engine to seize up – making it so your car has a very expensive and heavy paperweight under the hood. I don’t want you to have to buy a new engine this winter, so DON’T DO IT!
14. I already touched on this one up above.
Once again, all of these came from Imgur. I’ve already warned you a couple times, and here’s another one just in case – I cannot be held responsible for any damage or injury caused by following this satirical post. Do not do anything here to your car, or you’ll look like a fool to all your friends.
Got any more terrible car advice to share? Drop it in the comments!