starting car in winterHere are some interesting facts regarding your car and cold temperatures:

At what temperature does gasoline freeze?

One article I came across suggested that gasoline could freeze at a range between -40C and -76C or any temperature less than -40 degrees fahrenheit. -40 degrees celsius = -40 degrees fahrenheit.

You can prevent your gas line from freezing by keeping the tank as full as possible. Also, avoid using alcohol-blended gasoline during the extremely cold temperatures. The alcohol in the fuel attracts and retains moisture which can freeze in your gas line. Source

At what temperature do automobile batteries freeze?

Can your car’s battery freeze?  Yes, it can, says Gale Kimbrough, technical services manager for Interstate Batteries, though it takes truly extreme temperatures for a fully charged battery to freeze. But if a battery is discharged because of damage to cells, poor connections or a charging system that isn’t doing its job, the battery could start freezing at the same temperature as water.  “A 100 percent fully charged battery will not freeze until approximately minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit. A fully discharged battery can freeze at or around 32 degrees,” Kimbrough said in a telephone interview. The difference between a fully charged and discharged 12-volt battery is not that big.

At what temperature should I stop using windshield wiper fluid?

Since straight water freezes at 32 degrees F, something has to be added to winter washer fluid to lower the freezing point. That “something” is commonly methanol, a poisonous alcohol made from wood.  According to info I found through a Google search, straight methanol freezes at about -145 F. However, when mixed with water, that quickly rises; a mix that freezes at -20 F would be about 33% methanol. But the question is, why would that be slushy at +7 F?

For some insight, I contacted my friend, “Chemical Bob,” a retired chemical engineer. (Because discussing all my “Bob” friends can be confusing, I refer to them by their occupations: Chemical Bob, Digital Bob, and Mechanical Bob.) Bob theorized that the methanol in the mix may have evaporated over time (both bottles had been opened and were sitting in the garage for at least a decade), and that’s why the mix froze. Further research made this look like a feasible theory.

Starting your car in extremely cold conditions


photo credit: Slow in the snow via photopin (license)