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If I lease a car in Winnipeg in December, is it winterized?

23 Oct 17
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We’ll be renting a car in Winnipeg in December. Are the cars winterized and can withstand frigid nights, or do they have engine block heaters and have to be plugged in? — Mike, Tempe, Arizona

They call it Winterpeg for a reason. Any vehicle you rent there — or anywhere else in Canada — should have the ability to deal with the cold.

But they may not be equipped with winter tires.

“All cars in Canada is going to be winterized. Truly the only thing that means to me is it’s enough antifreeze in the coolant and winter windshield washer fluid,” said Calvin Feist, automotive instructor at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton.

“Major rental car companies have maintenance schedules they follow so all that should be performed — so the folks from Arizona should not be worried about the car, but they ensure they are winterized.”

We checked with leasing companies. All of them said their cars can take the cold. And they said their automobiles normally do not have to be plugged in — and, just a few of them will include a block heater.

“Our vehicles are equipped with the correct winter fluids including windshield fluid and antifreeze,” Lisa Martini, spokeswoman for National Car Rental, Alamo Rent A Car and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, states in an email. “We don’t typically use the engine block heaters that come equipped in a number of our vehicles (it varies among locations) nor do we need that our clients use them{}.”

More car makers are using synthetic oil, which flows more readily when it is chilly than traditional oil. That makes block heaters less essential than they was, Karen Drake, Hertz spokeswoman, says in an email.

A cord winter’s day?

While any modern car should begin without plugging in when it is -30C, it won’t like it.

But that may only matter to you if it is actually your vehicle.

“We highly recommend plugging in your vehicle around -15, no matter how new or how old it is,” said Liz Kulyk, spokeswoman for CAA Manitoba. “It is better for .”

When it is below -15C out, the oil in your car, even if it is synthetic, gets thicker and does not flow like it should. That means more friction and more wear and tear on your engine — and your battery.

“The older your battery is, the harder it is to turn over your motor. It really takes about half a battery’s charge to flip over on a cold day,” Kulyk stated. “Proactively plugging in for approximately four hours before you would like to drive keeps the internal components of your car warm and aids in a simpler start.”

A block heater warms the engine coolant, which warms the engine block and the oil, so the oil flows {}.

Again, odds are that your rental car has a battery that is fairly new. But if you would like to plug your car in for reassurance, you may need to obtain an extension cord.

“Rental cars do not usually leave out the cable, so there will not be an extension cable,” Feist said. “Too many men and women who do not normally plug in their cars tend to drive away with it plugged in.”

Winter tires not only for snowflakes

If Canadian rental cars are ready for winter, so they have winter tires, right?

Nope. If you’re in — where winter tires are required from Dec. 15 to March 15 annually — all rental cars need to get them at no additional price.

But everywhere else, you will receive all-seasons if you don’t request winter tires. And they are only available on a few cars.

Normally, they are mostly at airport locations and meant for men and women that are heading off to ski.

“About 10 percent of the fleet in the Winnipeg airport comes with winter tires, but this percentage will increase and decrease according to seasonal requirements and trends,” Martini said. “Customers can book them ahead of time, but they’re also be offered at the counter if available.”

It’s a fantastic idea to get them, CAA Manitoba’s Kulyk stated.

“If you visit a leasing company in Winnipeg and tell them, ‘I am travelling to Flin Flon,’ I expect they would provide winter tires,” Kulyk stated. “And that is the exact same even when you stay in Winnipeg — they increase stopping distance hugely.”

The Enterprise group costs $12 per day for winter tires, Martini said. Avis and Budget charge exactly the same. Hertz charges $20 per day for compact cars through to full-sized sedans and $25 per day for specialty vehicles such as SUVs, vans or luxury automobiles.

Quebec is the only state which needs winter tires. Requires either all-season tires with the M S emblem or winter tires with the mountain snowflake symbol, on from October 1 to March 31.

“About a quarter of our B.C. fleet will have winter tires,” Hertz’s Drake said.

Be prepared

Isn’t only for rental cars. Anyone who’ll be driving in the winter ought to prepare soon. Including checking batteries, ensuring the block heater is working, obtaining a synthetic oil change, making certain winter tires have sufficient tread, topping up all of the fluids and checking your windshield wipers and washer fluid, Kulyk stated.

“You should also have a snow brush and a winter emergency kit,” she said.

That kit should include additional water and food, blankets and, in the event you get stuck, a crisis shovel and sand or kitty litter.

Rental cars typically include snow brushes but not chilly emergency kits, Martini said.

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Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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