Can my car handle a road trip to one of the the coldest places on Earth! - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

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Old 11-14-2011, 05:12 AM
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Bethesda E39 Bethesda E39 is offline
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Question Can my car handle a road trip to one of the the coldest places on Earth!

Hey everyone,

I have a 2011 128i with 15K miles.

Loving the car so far, and I'm planning a road trip this Christmas to Winnipeg, Canada (about an hour north of the ND/MN border)...where the temperature can get as low as -40 (worse when you factor in wind chill).

The car was purchased here in the Washington, DC area and thus does not come equipped as Canadian cars do (engine block heater, cold climate fluids [if that's even different], stronger battery, etc).

My concern is as follows:
Will my Mid-Atlantic car be OK in the Canadian (Arctic-esque) weather, parked in a place where it will be exposed to potentially high winds overnight?

-Will my battery have sufficient "cold cranking amps" to get the engine started on cold mornings?
-Is Canadian-market engine oil a different weight, and do I need to have it changed before I leave?
-Is the coolant the same for all North America market cars, or is it a different spec for the Canadian prevent gelling (and engine overheating)?
-Any other known issues with the I-6 engine's performance in extreme cold that I need to know about?

Thanks in advance.
I'm really excited about this road trip, but the last thing I need is a dead car while I'm enjoying the holidays.
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Old 11-14-2011, 06:50 AM
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Leslierc Leslierc is offline
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Good questions. While I'm sure that there may be some expertise here on this forum for your questions regarding conditioning cars for extreme cold climates, we are fortunate to have some very competent BMW dealerships in the D.C. area and I would check-off with one of them just to be safe/sure.

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Past BMWs: `05 645CiC; `07 650i; `08 M6 convertible; '08 135i; `11 750ix MSport; `15 M235i convertible

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Old 11-14-2011, 08:07 AM
drrpm drrpm is offline
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Cars are not effected by wind chill in the same way as warm blooded animals. If its -40 the wind doesn't actually make it colder, it just removes heat more quickly until the warmer object reaches -40. Your owners manual will tell you whether you should change your oil and antifreeze. Your battery is pretty new so it should be fine. During my college years in Wisconsin my car stayed outside in some pretty cold weather (-25) and it wasn't that big a deal.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:51 AM
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Andrew*Debbie Andrew*Debbie is offline
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If you don't have a set, you should get some winter tires.

Last edited by Andrew*Debbie; 11-16-2011 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:55 AM
Superschnell Superschnell is offline
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Change engine oil, coolant and windscreen washer fluid and that's it. Battery will be fine.
However they deliever different heating and air conditioning depending on export market, so you might need to dress warm

Have a nice trip and share it with us afterwards
"Never a boring car"

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Old 11-19-2011, 12:14 PM
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BMWs in Canada don't have any different fluid specs than in the US, standard 50/50 BMW coolant fill. oil spec is the standard 5W30 too. No Canadian BMWs are fitted with block heaters, anyone who has one has to get it fitted aftermarket, it is not recommended by BMW. The 135i has been recalled in Canada for retrofit of a larger 90Ah battery compared with the originally fitted 70Ah one that is the same as the US, not sure if this applies to the 128i.

Basically any US spec car is the same as a Canadian car when it comes to fluid, oil and lack of block heater, it is just advisable to fit the car with winter tyres.
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Old 12-13-2011, 02:18 PM
driverdad driverdad is offline
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Winnipeg, Canada

yep, It gets cold If you running a diesel you will need to use an additive in the fuel and depending how cold it is a dipstick heater wouldn't hurt. If you use gas your ok there should not have a problem. THE OIL if you use a 10/30 use a 5/30 look in the car manual to see what oil to be used in cold weather. And always let some one know when and where you are traveling to just incase of trouble on the road. Make sure you have a phone that has international calling and you had service. We had done snowmobiling up that way and it does get very cold when the sun goes down. Safe trip to yea.

Last edited by driverdad; 12-13-2011 at 02:25 PM.
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