Don't let the winter season catch you off guard. During the cold, winter months, keep your hybrid vehicle running smoothly and efficiently. We've prepared 10 things every hybrid car owner should do in order to keep their cars performing well during the winter season.
1. Vehicle Winterization
Have your hybrid car ready for winter driving exactly the same way you’d have a winterization for a non-hybrid car. Begin the process with an inspection of the condition of several important things, such as anti-freeze, oil and filter, tire pressure, and engine performance. Make sure you follow the specifications that are suggested in your owner’s manual and have regular meetings with your local auto repair technician.
2. Grill Insulation
When the temperature outside is extremely cold, some hybrid owners suggest a “blocking” of the hybrid’s front grill. Cut sections of foam pipe insulation in order to fit the pieces inside the grill, thus preserving the fuel economy. You can even use old pool noodles rather than purchasing new pipe insulation. You may want to block both the top and bottom grill, depending on the degree of cold you experience, and the make and model of your vehicle. For warm weather driving “blocking” is not recommended.
3. Lose Some Weight
If you don’t have a hybrid vehicle, you most likely have a front-wheel drive on your hybrid sedan. That’s considered a bonus during the winter. However, if you are carrying too much weight in your car, you’ll lose the advantage of front-wheel drive. That’s why you have to lose all unnecessary things. It’s better to clear a place for them in your garage. Having extra weight means you are closer to the ground when the road conditions are icy or snowy.
4. Snow Tires
You definitely need snow tires, if you live in a climate that gets a substantial amount of snow during the winter. You’ll see that having snow tires on your vehicle will provide you with better control and handling during the winter months. Remember to have your tire depth tread checked regularly during the season.
5. Keep Your Car Clean
The winter season is anything but a friend to hybrid vehicles, especially, the snow and ice that build up in your undercarriage. As part of your winter hybrid maintenance, hybrid owners recommend regular washing during the winter. By performing that, you’ll get rid of the unwanted snow and ice and also have a generally good appearance.
6. Defrost the Windows
Use some of the battery power of your hybrid car to not only heat your cabin and the seats during those cold winter days but also to use your defroster. In order to preserve as much battery power as possible, make sure you have top-quality windshield wipers that will help you in brushing away the heavy snow.
In the end, you just need to run the defroster long enough to start melting what’s left. Your warm cabin will complete the job from there.
7. Warm the Interior of Your Car
Like all types of vehicles, hybrid vehicles also need attention during the winter season. Warm the interior of your vehicle, while plugged in. Known as a “preconditioning,” this unique feature of hybrid cars automatically heats or cools the cabin before you start driving. The driver only has to program the day, time and temperature and leave the rest to the car. However, keep in mind that if you notice that your car is blowing cold air, you should have it serviced as soon as possible.
8. Heating Your Car Seats
The first thing you need to consider heating are the car seats. If you are in a hurry and have no time to wait for the cabin preconditioning to kick in, having a warm back and backside is the answer to having a comfortable ride. If your car is not warm enough, make sure you check the cabin air filter for better heat flow.
9. Fuel Economy Improvement
The cold winter weather is the biggest threat to your car’s fuel economy. If you wish to have a good fuel economy, make sure you warm your car’s engine before departure. Moreover, you need to take full advantage of your instruments and keep an eye on your speedometer. If you drive a little slower, you could save some money. Last but not least, watch your car’s thermometer in order to keep your fuel consumption at low levels.
10. Stay Plugged In
The best feature of your hybrid car is the battery, so take a good care of it at all times. You must remember to always keep your vehicle plugged in, regardless of the charge. By doing so, you’ll be guaranteed to go the distance prior to needing fuel, whenever you are ready to go.