How do you handle -7 degree cold ?


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Old 01-26-19, 10:43 AM
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How do you handle -7 degree cold ?

My son is up in Pittsburgh. He is living in a in apartment and just graduated form college and starting a new job Feb 4th


He has an 2018 Honda Accord.
Original parts except for the battery which may be 3 yrs old.

With the temp supposed to hit -7 on Wednesday evening and wind chills near -25, what can he do to protect the engine, battery, etc?

Should he go out and start it before going to bed at about 11 and let it run 10 minutes?

thanks
 
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Old 01-26-19, 11:09 AM
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You say it's 2018. That's pretty new, so I would think he should have no problems. We have had single digit and below zero temps here in Western New York the past several weeks. I leave my 2017 Chevy Travisty out all night and have had no problems. Even a three year old battery should be OK. But you can have it tested at an auto store to see how good of a charge i t holds.

Last week I drained my battery on a by letting a seat warmer go all night. I jump started and the car has been fine ever since.

An old trick is to cover the engine with a blanket at night. Use to do that on an old VW. Helped a lot. Unless he has had problem I would not worry about it. The battery should be new enough to hold a charge and crank at low temps. If it's that cold, then yes you can run the car for ten minutes in the morning to warm it up. But that's more for comfort than necessity.
 
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Old 01-26-19, 11:24 AM
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Letting a car warm up is always a good idea... and i agree you will have no problems.
 
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Old 01-26-19, 11:26 AM
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Keep it out of the wind to avoid wind chill. There is a lot colder temps forecast for the Midwest and points East. If he gets into -20 degrees, an engine blanket would help. Wrap the battery in insulation and starting it late at night an letting it run ten minutes would round out the precautions.
 
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Old 01-26-19, 11:33 AM
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Wind chill has no effect on inanimate objects other then making them cool down to the local air temp faster. Making sure the battery is good is the best as it will need all the power it has to start up in the cold weather. That said, I would suspect a 2018 Honda will have no issues on a cold weather start.

For reference I recall starting my wife's 1992 Grand AM in -32 degree weather back in the late 90's. It started like it was 65 outside.
 
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Old 01-26-19, 11:42 AM
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Some newer cars use a blended oil, part synthetic, so should crank just fine.

Part of living with cold winters includes a good set of jumper cables and I have at home a battery charger, mostly for other engines.

They do make a few different engine block heaters but as others have said, probably not needed. If temps hit -20 with wind arriving late is understandable.

Bud
 
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Old 01-26-19, 11:59 AM
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Wind chill has no effect on inanimate objects other then making them cool down to the local air temp faster.
You are correct.
The blanket idea only works if you put it on immediately after parking the car. It will retain some heat for a period of time. It was especially effective with those old air cooled VW's.
 
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Old 01-26-19, 12:51 PM
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A new car will not have any issue with temps that high, all are tested well into the -30 to -50F temps.

Lots of tech in cars today, my 2012 Captiva has heated seats and remote start, that about all I really want!
 
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Old 01-26-19, 01:00 PM
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It takes time for the outside temperature to drop the engine and battery to match if done in still air. Keeping the vehicle out of the wind slows the process significantly. The same is true for putting a blanket on the engine. It will slow the cooling from the point you put on the blanket.

Wind chill not only applies to biomass, but all objects
 
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Old 01-26-19, 01:10 PM
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Curious as to why a 2018 would have a 3 year old battery?
 
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Old 01-26-19, 01:14 PM
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Engine blankets... at least the ones that work for their intended purpose... are usually electric, much like an electric blanket is.

Block heaters work best for those who live in really frigid climates... where -7 is considered a nice winter day.
 
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Old 01-26-19, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand
Wind chill has no effect on inanimate objects other than making them cool down to the local air temp faster.
Correct, but, by parking a car close to a structure "to get it out of the wind", you can severly restrict radiant cooling (radiant heat ends up reflecting back and forth between car and structure.

Real life example.
I'm in SE Pennsylvania, if I park a car within about 10' of my unheated garage, the windows on that side of the car facing the unheated building generally does not have frost.
 
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Old 01-26-19, 01:55 PM
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Just my opinion, but I wouldn't start it before bed. If you're worried about cold starts, why cold start it at 11 pm, and then again in the morning? Just do one cold start in the morning and be done with it. It'll probably cool off back to ambient air temperatures by morning anyway, unless he's planning on putting a blanket on afterwards or taking other measures. But I don't even really think that's necessary.

Also, if there were any concerns about the battery, I wouldn't want to crank it over at night, and not run it long enough to rebuild the charge. I actually drained a battery in the winter with a couple cycles of starting it, running the car just long enough to rearrange the parking at my house, and shutting it off. It never ran long enough to recharge.

If there was a problem, the weak link will probably be the battery, since all battery performance tends to suffer in the cold. As a cheap insurance policy, he could pick up a jumper box, and have that charged up in the apartment in case the battery needs a little extra help in the morning.
 
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Old 01-26-19, 03:05 PM
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Wind chill is a "feeling". Only animals can feel wind chill. Hunks of steel, wood and concrete don't "feel" and do not feel wind chill. Wind will make a object like a car cool down faster but once it's cold the car or it's battery only knows the -7f real temperature. It does not cool to the -25f wind chill temp.
 
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Old 01-26-19, 03:14 PM
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We're supposed to get down to -26° F in another couple days....

Plugging in the car does help but more than trouble starting is I will have trouble getting my car into reverse (manual transmission) when it gets really cold so I park it in reverse at night instead of first gear since I back out of the driveway.
 
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Old 01-26-19, 04:27 PM
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The wind chill term used by meteorologists is to provide an index of how cold it feels. The wind chill effect is a thermodynamic of heat transfer by moving air against an object or animal, person, etc. Anything, object or animal will lose heat to the air around if the ambient temperature of the air is cooler than the heat source. The coldest you get is the ambient temperature. But the speed you get there is determined by the wind chill effect.

Consequently if you park your car out of the wind the cooling process is slowed. The bottom line is; the more heat your car is allowed to retain above the ambient temperature the more apt it is to start.

Most cars that are well maintained with a strong battery will start in single digit sub zero temperatures.
 
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Old 01-26-19, 06:29 PM
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I don't care if there if wind or not.... if it's -7F out, your car is going to be cold thru and thru after about 1 hour... let alone after sitting all night, no matter where you park it. Metal conducts heat away very quickly, people.

Out of curiosity I wonder what the wind chill would be if you were going 80mph on the interstate when it's that cold.
 
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Old 01-26-19, 06:42 PM
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X, blocking an engine from a chill wind with a blanket does work. And the heat lost is not that quick, especially in the internal parts of the engine. One or two degrees can make a difference with an engine in single digit weather. And if you can prevent snow from getting inside the hood, that helps also. You are correct that 7 degrees is 7 degrees regardless of the wind factor, but covering a hot engine with a heavy blanket will help starting several hours later. I know from experience.
 
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Old 01-26-19, 07:08 PM
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- Question again, why a 3 year old battery in a 2 year old car?

- Bigger concern is make sure the antifreeze hasn't been diluted with water.

Originally Posted by marbobj
The coldest you get is the ambient temperature.
Well, not exactly; thanks to radiation you sometimes see frost on dark asphalt shingle roofs even though the official ambient air temperature is 34-35°.
When you think about it, air is clear because it is poor at absorbing or emitting visible and infrared light. In contrast dark shingles shingles are really good at absorbing all colors of light, and at emitting all colors of light and heat - so the dark shingles radiate heat away into space without warming up the air (much) and you get frost.

You also have convection, cold air sinks, so you may have frost on the grass, but not shrubs or trees.

Finally, thanks to conduction, the outside of a heated building will be ABOVE ambient air temperature.

Originally Posted by marbobj
Consequently if you park your car out of the wind the cooling process is slowed.
And you also get passive heat from nearby buildings, and, when it gets THIS cold, you have to consider geothermal heat. The ground a few feet down is around 45° and the frigid arctic air is "pulling heat out of the ground and up to the air. Normally you don't bother with this heat flow, but when the air is -20° F, then frozen ground that's +10° F suddenly seems "warm".

That's why you park a vehicle under cover, or put a tarp over it, frozen ground is "warmer" than frigid air.


Originally Posted by marbobj
The bottom line is; the more heat your car is allowed to retain above the ambient temperature the more apt it is to start.
Generally, kid you should be fine. Might want to put a piece of cardboard across 1/2 of the radiator if driving at highway speeds.


Bottomer line - try and park the car so the battery is as close to a heated building as you can with the battery towards the building. avoid open sky if you can. Don't park at the bottom of a valley where cold air will build up.

Cover the engine / hood with a blanket or car cover- air is actually a great insulator as long as you can keep the warm air from rising. The engine itself is fairly well isolated mechanically, so heat doesn't conduct quickly.
 

Last edited by Hal_S; 01-26-19 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 01-27-19, 05:37 AM
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Finally, thanks to conduction, the outside of a heated building will be ABOVE ambient air temperature.
This I can verify. I have two outdoor thermometers. One behind my shed facing north and about 40 feet away from house. Another under the canopy of my front door facing south but shielded from sun by the roof. The shed thermometer almost always read 5 to 10 degrees colder than the front. Although this past couple days both have agreed on temps at the below 10 degree mark.
 
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Old 01-27-19, 06:24 AM
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Two thermometers? Do you exchange them every so often so you can detect inaccuracies which can differ at different temperatures?

(Dark colored) roof with frost when the ambient temperature is 34? Is your thermometer accurate? I don't expect the frost to melt in less than five minutes in 36 degree air temperatures but it certainly did not form at a temperature of 33 (including the substrate i.e. roof).

I have some Oregon Scientific electronic thermometers that are very inaccurate, like two of them differing by more than 5 degrees. I think it is ridiculous to have a thermometer that registers tenths of a degree when it can be a few whole degrees off.

Do you have electricity at the parking space? Incandescent light bulbs together with blankets can be used to keep the engine warm.
 
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Old 01-27-19, 07:19 AM
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I've live/lived in cold areas most of my life, it often gets -25 wind chill, but wind chill doesn't matter to cars. I'm surprised nobody said to use 5W30 engine oil unless I missed it. Get a high cranking amp battery, and it will last for abt 3 yrs... if it EVER hesitates on start, get a new one ASAP. Cars are engineered to withstand cold weather, so it's no big deal to me. I just warm up my vehicles for a few mins before driving so the oil will circulate and protect the moving parts. I wouldn't do anything else... keep the snow and ice off of it when needed, run it thru a car wash at least monthly to get road salt off and be sure to wash the underbody.
 
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Old 01-27-19, 08:00 AM
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I see our HIGH for tuesday is -15°F, sure am glad I'm retired.

I think one of the best things for a cold car is installing a soft plug heater, keeps the engine nice and warm and only draws 400 watts.
 
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Old 01-27-19, 08:37 AM
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I use my plug in on my service van every weekday. Makes starting easier on the engine easier and warm up faster. I use a wall timer that will turn it on at about 4am so as not to run it all night.
 
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Old 01-27-19, 08:39 AM
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Why a 3 yr old bat? Could have been bought in '17, and fuzzy math.
Sid
 
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Old 01-27-19, 09:12 AM
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Uh yeah but the 18's wouldn't come out till the end of 17 and since 19 just started, still impossible to be more than 2 years old, in my way of thinking. Just trying to wrap my brain around it!

Edit: I can't see that it would even be 2 years old. The car is not 2 years old yet.??
 

Last edited by Shadeladie; 01-27-19 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 01-27-19, 11:21 AM
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Maarkr, the 2018 Accord uses 0W20 oil. 5W30 would be moving in the wrong direction for cold weather.
 
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Old 01-27-19, 12:44 PM
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Two thermometers? Do you exchange them every so often so you can detect inaccuracies which can differ at different temperatures?
Their both electronic and both are accurate, at least with each other. I've learned that there can be pockets of temperature differences within a few feet of each other. I can take the same thermometer or gauge and move it to a different area and get a different reading. Ever notice that when you're driving the car outside thermometer will vary as you drive? And all within a the same general area.
 
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Old 01-27-19, 01:10 PM
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Ok

The car does not need any special treatment due to that type of temperature, it would be fine to much colder temperatures before you would need battery warmers, block heaters and such. There is nothing special really that you need to do. There are a few things you should not do.

Most important is the state of the battery, three years old is ok but I change batteries at year 4 as the failure rate is simply too high once you go longer, so either get a new battery, Costco batteries are fine and cheap - or alternatively, make sure you know how to do a boost. Maybe get one of these and keep it in the trunk. I always have one in my trunk, these are amazing little booster beasts... https://www.walmart.com/ip/NOCO-GB40...arter/46605770

Also keep windshield fluid levels full, it helps defrost the windshield when cold and you can go through quite a bit of it. Keep an extra container in the trunk as well. I like these, to keep the bottle from tipping over in the trunk. https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/koolatr.../6000187310346

As for warm up, there are many views on this, but the approach I have concluded on for technical reasons is as follows. Start the car, let it idle for about one minute, then drive, but not too much throttle for the first while, don't floor it, just get going at reasonable acceleration. Idling is not good for a car, and without load the engine takes along time to warm up. The goal is to get the engine warmed up as quickly as possible, and only driving does that. Within about 5 minutes of driving, you are near enough to normal operating temperatures.

I am not sure about the Honda, but I think the computer actually measures the temperatures, and can limit the throttle if it is drive by wire, and self protect when the engine is cold. So even the procedure noted may be redundant for these newer cars. But it won't hurt to let the car deal with thermal expansions more gradually by driving gently at first.

Do not start and idle the car the night before. It will do nothing for the morning start, and will simply have caused all kinds of condensation to form, and rot out your pipes/muffler from the inside out, get in your oil making it less effective, etc.. The car needs to be driven to operating temp to fry off all the moisture, 15 minutes of idling isn't going to do that.

The oil should be the lowest viscosity spec the manual of the car advises. That would be the 0W20 as noted. This is very good oil for the cold, they use a low viscosity for better fuel economy, but this is by coincidence about the best oil grade you could envision for cold weather use. So as long as the proper factory spec oil is in there, that will be ok as is.

Also, top up tire pressures, they loose a few pounds as temperature drops. I presume the factory all season tires are on, they will be fine and the rubber compound is designed for colder temperatures. Some Honda's get aftermarket wheels and tires, summer tires are dangerous below freezing, they are rock hard with huge traction losses.

I am in Canada, and we know cold. Honda does too...https://justinpritchard.ca/honda-mak...k-in-the-cold/
 
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Old 01-27-19, 01:18 PM
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So the consensus of this whole thread and to the OP is:
1. Don't start the car the night before. OK to warm up in the morning.
2. Try to protect from wind side if possible.
3. Most likely you have another year at least on the 3 year old battery. BUT we all want to know why a 3 yr old battery on a 2 year old car?
 
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Old 01-27-19, 02:37 PM
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That or everyone does it different.

How does Tow Guy handle that sub zero stuff down there?
 
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Old 01-27-19, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Norm201
Originally Posted by Hal_S
Finally, thanks to conduction, the outside of a heated building will be ABOVE ambient air temperature.
This I can verify. I have two outdoor thermometers.
One behind my shed facing north and about 40 feet away from house.
Another under the canopy of my front door facing south but shielded from sun by the roof. The shed thermometer almost always read 5 to 10 degrees colder than the front. Although this past couple days both have agreed on temps at the below 10 degree mark.
The math behind this is actually rather neat, heat flow is like DC current.

Temperature is voltage, insulation is resistance.
-masonry walls are single resistor.
-double pane windows are 3 resistors in series, glass-air-glass.

You do have a bit of math to calculate the parallel loads of the entire building (four walls and a roof) based on square footage and thermal conductivity, (i.e.if 10% of the wall area consists of windows and 90% is masonry wall).
 
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Old 01-27-19, 08:19 PM
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How does Tow Guy handle that sub zero stuff down there?
He wouldn't be down there if he could handle sub-zero stuff.
 
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Old 01-28-19, 06:11 AM
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Born in Milwaukee, didn't move down here until Dad was transferred in 1966 when I was 12. Snow/cold memories last FOREVER. Also did cold weather/arctic training in my USMC aviation days @ Camp McCoy/Volk Field, WI including exercises above the arctic circle [Bodų, Norway].

It is REALLY cold here this morning, thermometer says 49. Only going to make 62 for a high!!!

I was going to refrain from commenting, but blame marbo and ss for goading me.
 

Last edited by the_tow_guy; 01-28-19 at 06:29 AM.
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Old 01-28-19, 07:29 AM
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Thanks TG. Now I feel bad........... and cold up here. 62 !!! Park ur truck out of the wind
 
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Old 01-28-19, 10:31 AM
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Got a pretty stiff breeze so the wind chill is probably more like 52! Brutal!

Weather-guessers were a bit optimistic, too, I think. Still only 51 @ 12:30p.
 
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Old 01-28-19, 11:29 AM
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Tow-guy,

Go ahead and rub it in...52 degrees, Brutal.

Right now if we're above 20 we think it's a hot spell.
 
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Old 01-28-19, 05:24 PM
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My mistake.,..it is a 2008 Honda accord, not a 2018
 
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Old 01-28-19, 05:32 PM
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Well now that changes things. Most likely the battery is still OK, but you should have it checked at the auto store. And I would check and maybe flush out the radiator. Check the tires including inflation. If it has power windows you might want to use wd-40, silicon or talc powder to keep out moisture where the windows seal against the door frame.
 
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Old 01-29-19, 06:22 PM
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2008

The lowest temp oil spec is 5W20 for this year.

Get a new battery if you don't know how old the old one is.

Otherwise all the previous comments apply..
 
 

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