At this time of the year, much is said about how garages can take advantage of the winter cold, which is especially the case when it comes to lubricants and coolants. Factors can also make the most of this period; it’s just about stocking the right products.
As the cold weather sets in, garages are busy delivering servicing work for customers’ vehicles, which is an important part of ensuring that cars are ready for whatever the winter might put them through. Not only does this increase the reliability of the vehicle, it reduces the chance of breakdown.
Motor factors can capitalise on this seasonal peak in servicing activity by stocking premium-quality lubricants and coolants.
“Lubricants are the lifeblood of a vehicle’s engine,” said Bob Wood, Technical Engineer at Total Lubricants. “However, they are affected by the weather, so when the temperature drops, it’s important to select the appropriate engine oils and coolants to help keep customers’ vehicles from breaking down.”
The majority of engine wear occurs at start-up, and this is particularly the case in the colder winter months, as the engine has to work even harder.
Bob explained, “Cold weather makes the oil thicker, meaning it is slower to circulate through the engine’s vital components, and this is part of the reason why it is sometimes more difficult to start a car in cold weather.
“Although they are more expensive, synthetic oils are thinner, meaning they flow more effectively in cold temperatures, and provide better engine protection, reliability and performance. These oils also help to reduce the wear and tear of the battery, as it does not need so much energy to power the engine at start up.”
The RAC checks the oil level in every vehicle it attends, and finds that one in three are dangerously low on oil.
Bob added, “It’s alarming to think that people don’t carry out such a basic check as making sure they have a sufficient amount of oil. Not having enough oil will invariably lead to breakdowns, and could potentially cause catastrophic engine failure. When the temperature falls below zero, nobody should risk breaking down and being stranded.”
Using ‘premium’ quality engine oil that offers a good level of wear protection is vital to engine health and performance during cold weather. If the engine oil is too thick, the car may not start, but on the other hand, if it is too thin, it won’t provide adequate protection.
Total claims that its Age Resistant Technology (ART) fights against friction, corrosion and deposits, and thereby reduces potential cold start issues. Consequently, in the opinion of the company, its Total Quartz range of engine oils offers optimum protection and performance, and improved fuel economy, which is a strong advantage during colder months when fuel economy is often reduced.
However, it’s not just using the correct type of engine oil that can benefit engines in winter. Before the temperature plummets, it’s also wise to check the coolant level.
Bob explained, “Although coolants are a necessity all year round, winter brings harsher conditions that can affect the performance of the cooling system, making it more difficult to start cars on those freezing mornings.
“A cooling system that is not functioning correctly could lead to all kinds of problems, such as radiator failure, head gasket issues and, in the worst case, engine failure.”
Total’s coolants, GLACELF and COOLELF, are formulated based on Organic Acid Technology (OAT), meaning they have a much longer service life compared to conventional offerings, therefore allowing for extended drain intervals, which means that less maintenance is required, coolant replacement costs are reduced, and less harm is done to the environment.
Total COOLELF SI-OAT is ready mixed, while GLACELF SI-OAT is the concentrate version that is diluted with demineralised water at different concentrations in order to provide the required low temperature operation. For example, a freezing point of -20⁰C requires a 33% mixture, and a freezing point of -37⁰C requires a 50% mix.
Bob concluded, “Using a premium quality lubricant and coolant is vital to ensuring that a vehicle’s engine remains in peak condition, with the optimum performance and protection to ensure it can withstand the lowest temperatures that winter can throw at it.”