Attention hybrid drivers in Baltimore, Columbia, Clarksburg, Ellicott City and Woodstock! Is your car ready for winter? When temperatures drop, inevitably so will your gas mileage. It’s an unfortunate part of owning a hybrid vehicle in Maryland. For the gas-conscious driver, we have some tips to prepare your heat-loving hybrid for chilly temperatures. Follow these 4 steps to winterize your car in Maryland:
Park in a Garage
Your hybrid’s battery loves the heat and performs better when it is warmed up properly. Storing your car in a warmer location, like a garage, can significantly improve your car’s performance on cold winter mornings by reducing strain on the battery to warm up the interior. If a garage parking space isn’t available to you, consider changing your vehicle’s morning start up routine. Let the battery prioritize what’s really important, the engine and it’s cold, thickened oil, before blasting heat and defrosters.
So we just told you that you should dedicate some time to keeping your car warm this winter, but keep in mind that over-warming is harmful to your hybrid. You lose a lot of efficiency when your car is on, but not moving. That’s because you’re using a lot of energy from the battery without generating any mpg. For most drivers, the first thing they do when they get in the car is blast the heat and defrosters to get the cabin comfortable. Hybrid drivers might have to wait for some warmth until they get rolling.
Remove Racks and Extra Weight
Winter is the time for hybrid drivers to get into the details about their fuel efficiency. Cold temperatures mean your battery is working extra hard to get things moving, drawing more power than at other times of the year. That’s why it’s especially important to streamline your vehicle to prevent wind resistance and remove extra weight that can hinder gas mileage. Sport racks, extra junk in the trunk and heavy snow or ice loads on your car are enemies to fuel efficiency.
Check Tire Pressure
Properly inflated tires are the key to optimal fuel efficiency. Cold temperatures, however, severely impact tire pressure during winter months in Baltimore, Columbia, Clarksburg, Ellicott City and Woodstock. Be sure to check your tire pressure when temperatures drop. You might even consider investing in winter tires, yes, winter tires for your hybrid! Standard tires aren’t designed for cold temperatures, which means stiffening and poorer performance during winter months. Winter tires remain flexible for better control and handling in lower temperatures, which means less stress on the engine and better fuel efficiency!