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Moving to a Cold Climate

Q: I am planning on moving my truck from the warm climate of Texas into the cold northern Canadian climate. What precautions should I take to ensure this transition goes smoothly?

A: First things first, have a load test done on the battery. A load test can simulate various starting conditions. Automotive batteries generally last 5-6 years. Then test the antifreeze. If the antifreeze hasn’t been flushed within the last two years, have the system flushed and refilled. I generally recommend 50% antifreeze to 50% water mixture to achieve freeze protection down to –34 degrees F. However, since the truck is going to be in northern Canada, I would refill the coolant with 60% antifreeze and 40% water. This will give you a freeze point of around –62 degrees F. If the climate is even more frigid than that, you can run a maximum of 70% antifreeze and 30% water to achieve freeze protection down to –84 degrees F. Install an engine block heater. Use one that goes right into an engine block freeze plug. Since antifreeze will be lost when doing this, do this during the same time as the flush and refill. A block heater is a must in cold climates. Finally, get an oil change and general tune-up (spark plugs, filters, etc.). In cold climates, use lightweight motor oil with 0W-20, 0W-30, 5W-20, or 5W-30 viscosity ratings. Refer to your owner’s manual for recommendations.