Friday, January 12, 2024

Starting your vehicle in the extreme cold

OK so we got our first taste of winter in Metro Vancouver this morning. The warm currents from down south have given us a very mild and wet winter this year thanks to the El Nino. Yet just like in 2010, the El Nino winter in Vancouver had a late start. We finally had some cold arctic air move down south that was able to over ride the warmer currents moving north.

So it was minus 15 Celsius on the ride into work this morning. We didn't get the precipitation so the roads were bare and dry. Nice. Just a little chilly. I was a bit worried about being able to start my bike in the morning because whenever it's around minus 10 it's sometimes hard to start. I hooked up the battery to a charger over night and wrapped my motorcycle blanket around the radiator and crank case. Starting it this morning was no problem.

However, when I went out to warm up my bike during my break at work it wouldn't start and the battery was almost dead. I was like oh no. That hasn't happened before. So I unhooked the battery and brought it inside for the rest of my shift. Thankfully it had warmed up slightly outside and the battery was warm enough to start the bike no problem when I was off work. Thank God.

I was speaking with my neighbor who has lived in Alberta and asked him about block heaters in the extreme cold. He explained that you need two heaters. One for the crank case and one for the radiator. I thought you needed one for the battery. Having a new battery helps.

He said you need one for the crack case because if the oil gets too cold it becomes very thick and it takes too much juice to turn the engine over. He said if it's minus 40 with a windchill you need to put cardboard in front of your radiator. He said if you don't the wind chill when you drive could freeze your coolant even with anti freeze.

He said in areas where it's that cold everywhere you go you have outlets to plug in your block heater. If you don't use them your car won't start when you get back from shopping. This is all new to us in the lower mainland but since we're all leaving Metro Vancouver for rural areas that are much colder during winter it's something we have to adapt to.

The mountains look awesome in the sunshine with all that crystallized snow on them. The ski hills will have the snow machines making fresh snow but the snowshoe trails will be packed and icy. Perfect for crampons. A lot of people use those tiny chains that fit over a hiking boot but I prefer the big teeth on crampons. The're much faster going up and much safer climbing down.

Okanagan ski hills shut down due to bitter cold temperatures

Global is reporting that "Businesses that normally thrive during the winter are being impacted by arctic winds and bitterly cold temperatures. Several ski hills across B.C., including in the Okanagan, were forced to temporarily shut down due to safety concerns."

"Apex Mountain Resort near Penticton shut down all operations on Friday. The resort said there will also be no night skiing on Friday or Saturday due to the cold temperatures, while normal day operations are expected to resume on Saturday." -32 plus wind chill.

So a couple of weeks ago Justan Idiot was ranting about climate change because of the warm El Nino and now it's cold as f*ck. This is exactly what I said happened in Vancouver during the 2010 El Nino. The mountains had a late start to winter but got pounded with snow in the New Year.


  1. I can’t believe you ride your MC in the winter. Koodo’s to you! I ride too, but I’m not THAT passionate. Ride safe (obviously you do or you wouldn’t have gotten this far) and eye on the cages! :)

    1. It's metro Vancouver. I couldn't do it in Eastern Canada. I park it for freezing rain.

  2. The electric battery blanket is wired in with the block heater, they both only use one plug.

  3. The block heater is something I’m surprised is not on vehicles sold in BC. Even at zero you should plug it in.

    My 1968 Mopar has a “cold” light on the dash. The light goes out when the engine gets to minimal operational temperature. It takes a while even in the summer when it’s +30C to warm up and have the light go off. New vehicles do not have that. People start up their cars in -30c and start to drive away. Manufacturers love that as you’re doing a lot of wear and tear to your engine.

    On Harley’s you’re supposed to run the bike until the top of the rocker starts to get warm. That, too, takes a while.

    A battery blanket keeps the battery warm so you have more cranking amps. I’ve never seen one wired together into the block heater cord. That could put a heavy draw on the one cord.

    Some put a second block heater in but that’s rare as hens teeth.

    1. LOL In Vancouver we don't even put snow tires on the busses. We're not very prepared for the snow. A battery blanket would be wise.

    2. A buddy of mine rode all winter long in SK. He wrapped his barrels (cylinders) in a battery blanket and would plug that in to keep the oil in a state to easily start the bike.


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