Separating myth from fact

Vince L.    Advice compiled from various Calgary driving schools | September 15, 2014

4 useful tricks about your car that you may not know

Water for coolant? Myth or Legit

So your car is leaking green stuff, no big deal right? Wrong! your car is leaking radiator coolant which is the liquid used to cool down important part of your car. Without the "coolaid" your car is certain to overheat. So what do you do if you're travelling and all of a sudden your car starts to leak radiator fluid but there isn't a service station for many miles. Your sir are in a jam!

Relax, water is a natural coolant. Make sure you use the cleanest water available to you and you can use the water as a temporary or emergency measure. However water will freeze during colder temperatures, make sure to only use this trick only if:
  1. It is an emergency
  2. If it isn't too cold to the point where it will freeze the water
If it is possible also add a little bit of antifreeze to the water mixture this will help not only keep the water from freezing but it also makes everything run smoother and is cleaner for your radiator and engine.

Remember only use this as an emergency precaution. As soon as you're able to get your vehicle serviced make sure you use the proper solutions and products for your car. Also make sure you flush out the remaining water first.

Foggy windows? does it take you too long to clear up during rainy days?

Have you ever turned the defoggers in your car and it takes so long that it started getting hard for you to see? That's because you used the wrong settings. Fog happens when there is differences in the air outside vs the air inside the cab of the car.

In Calgary we have very dry air most of the time so our windows usually only fog up during winter and rainy days. The fog is merely the condensation of water due to either the water trapped inside your floor mats or the moisture being released from your breath and body. You can defog your windows by either equalizing the difference between the air outside of the vehicle and inside of the vehicle or by evaporating the moisture that's building up on your windshield.

Here are three ways to do this:
  1. For super emergency you need this done now type of situations this is usually the fastest. Rapidly decrease the temperature inside of the car to prevent condensation. First blast the defrost function and use either no heat or even ac and the fog should dissipate quickly, cold air is dry air.
  2. Open all your windows and let the warm air inside the car out while letting the cold and dry air outside flow in sooner or later the difference between the two airs will equalize. and this will prevent condensation since your windshield is now surrounded by equal temperatures on both sides.
  3. This is the best method to employ as it is much more comfortable. Always try to keep a check on the moisture levels inside your car; the drier the floor mat is the less moisture in your car. Next always make sure that you leave lots of time to warm up your car, blowing warm air across the windshield will evaporate the condensation. Make sure your not recalculating the air you want to push the moisture outside of the car. This may take longer but it is definitely more comfortable.

The dead battery push start

Its happened to all of us before especially in Calgary where temperatures can plummet in excess of -30 degrees celsius. You get into your car, and it won't start. You try absolutely everything and - nothing. You see this in Hollywood films all the time where two guys who desperately need to start the car push the vehicle manually to get it going and BAM, the car starts. In real life however this method won't work for just any car.

When your starter motor (not your battery) isn't working properly and you drive a stick shift (manual transmission) then this method can help you start your car.

Here is how it is done:
  1. First turn the ignition to the ON position.
  2. Next have a friend or helper push the vehicle to gain some momentum
  3. Lastly you need to use the clutch to engage the second gear to kick-start your car
Use the reverse gear if you need to back up instead of going forward.

If your car won't start try these methods first:
  • Turn off all of the electronics (radio, lights) so that all the remaining juice goes to the starter.
  • If the starter clicks but won't start have a buddy give you a boost. First connect the terminals of both cars, be sure you have the negatives and positives right you don't want to blow up your ride. Then let the car charge for a few minutes before you give it a go again.
  • Double check the terminals on your battery for corrosion. The build up will look white and can sometimes prevent the current from flowing to the starter.


Biodiesel, it sounds nice but what is biodiesel exactly? Well it doesn't mean you can pour veggie oil down your gas tank that's for sure. As the name suggests Biodiesel can only be used with diesel engines, furthermore to produce proper biodiesel isn't easy at all, so don't try it unless you have done your homework. It may not be rocket science but it's no walk in the park.

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