A Hybrid Owner’s winter survival guide

Discussion in 'Articles' started by msantos, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member

    Ok, cool. I'll try it out next time it's really cold. It was 61 this morning but rainy. I did shift to "s" on a short but very steep incline and did notice the lack of assist with high rpm's. Unfortunately for me, my drive way is a small hill, and getting out of my neigborhood is a small hill. I'm taking a hit before I ever get going.

    Thanks guys.

  2. Kacey Green

    Kacey Green Well-Known Member

    My neighborhood is a nasty uphill climb, I just grit my teeth and bear it, by the time I get to the freeway the car is up to AS temp and SOC is at 6-7 sometimes 8 pips.
  3. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member


    Regarding snow tires and mounting them on steel rims, any thoughts regarding sources for steel rims. Also, if I look up something like San Leandro Honda's online catolog, I have to say I'm looking for Civic DX parts. If I say the Hybrid it just shows the alloy pizza wheels. I wonder if the brake assemblies etc are identical, and these still rims would fit the Hybrid ok. I suspect they would, but would be nice to know.

    I've found it quite frustrating trying to find steel rims online. Local tire dealers say they can sometimes find take-offs for around $88 per.

    Also, back in the day semi-presentable silver painted steel rims were readily available, with push-on center caps. With the advent of wheel covers (which don't come cheap, and tend to get chewed up), it seems all that's available (when you can find them) are these very utilitarian looking black rims with myriad holes around the circumference. Putting them on, without center caps, and with the (non-acorn) lug nuts that come with the Hybrid doesn't look that hot. No big deal, they would work, but it's too bad you can't get the old style silver rims with center caps, much more presentable.

    I would think it takes somewhat higher technology to make a steel rim, compared to alloy, what with metal stamping/rolling, and automated welding requirements. Maybe that's part of the issue?
  4. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Hi Mendel;

    The 8th gen Civic DX steel rims will work beautifully. In fact, that is exactly what I use along with the wheel covers and lug nuts (just four per wheel). Many Honda dealers will offer pretty good deals on the winter combos which often includes the tires: Michelin X-Ice (my favorites) for little more than $800.

    Frankly, I am a sucker for Honda genuine parts and a total fan when they undercut the quotes from other tire shops who simply couldn't tell if the rims fit unless I actually buy them ahead of time. :eyebrow:

    Here's a picture of mine:


  5. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    Thanks, MSantos. I'll check that out in more detail. The last time I was in our dealership I asked casually, and they said steel rims were "around $100".

    Might be next year though: everyone seems to be selling out of Winter tires, at least of the more popular sizes. Both the Quebec legislation and a cold snap we've been experiences on the west coast are likely part of the cause.

    On the coast it's always a bit of a quandry, it doesn't get that cold, and it doesn't stay white that long. This year's shaping up as an exception right now though.


    Just an update: picked up some honda civic steel rims (p/n: 42700-SNE-A01) and Nokian WRG2: a world of difference from our Bridgestone Insignia Se200's (with 60,000km wear). Skipped the wheel covers, so they look a little funky ;)
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2008
  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    Regardless of your tires, if they don't touch the ground firmly, you can get yourself really stuck. Up until 1/2 hour ago (when the blessed snow plow finally arrived) the most difficult part of our excursions in our '06 Civic Hybrid was getting out of our driveway and into the "grooves" in our side street.

    We've had a full *foot* of the white stuff on the ground, for a few days now. It varies around town a bit, but for sure we're getting a White Christmas :)

    At first we were thinking the small spoiler under the front bumper was the lowest point, but looking under there I would say the plastic underpanel is the low point, and it seems to deflect down below the regular underside a fair bit.

    If you're the lowest riding car in the neighourhood you're going to be brushing against the fresh snow all the way to the plowed main streets.

    If I get ambitious I might put it up on jack stands and see just what the difference is with/without.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2008
  7. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member


    Could you do me a big favour and check your steel wheel part numbers against the following. I have already the Honda rim (06 Civic DX 15", 5-bolt) steel rim:

    42700-SNE-A01, DISK, WHEEL (15X6J) (CMC/CLA)(BLACK)

    and it has worked out fine, with winter tires mounted. I'm thinking to dress it up per your above picture ;). I believe the cover is:

    44733-SNE-A00, TRIM, WHEEL (15")

    But for nuts I'm a little confused. I've found 2 part numbers:

    90381-SV1-981, NUT, WHEEL (SATO RASHI)
    90304-SA0-981, NUT, WHEEL (FUSE RASHI)

    Is one of them correct? And does the nut need the plastic retaining ring, and is that included?
  8. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Mendel, this is what I have:

    44733-SNE-A00 ............... TRIM, WHEEL 15x6J ................. $50.03
    90381-SV1-981 ............... Wheel Nut, COMP..................... $4.84

    The steel rim part number includes the wheel cover since it is a Civic DX part.
    The wheel nuts are should be purchased in sets of 4 since we will use the OEM locking nut as the 5th. That means a total of new 16 wheel nuts at almost $5 a piece.


  9. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    Thanks, MSantos.
  10. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    MSantos, when you get a chance, could you please take a look under your HCHII:

    Looking in the shop manual (which I believe you said you have) on page 20-145, the right side column is titled "Front Floor Undercover Replacement". These appear to run from the Front Undercover to the Middle Floor Undercover.

    I don't have these. Do you?
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  11. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Yep, I do - on both sides (left & right) - and on both cars.

    The page number you mentioned is for the 2006 shop manual only. The 2007 and 2008 shop manuals have the same illustrations but on different page numbers ;)

    Sorry, I did not bend down to look under the car yet. Its -33 out there (-45 with the windchill) and the garage floor communicates that very well. :)


  12. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    Thanks, MSantos. Hmm, I think I'll be talking to our dealership. We have the engine compartment shield, referred to in S.M. as "Front Undercover", then just bare till "Middle Floor Undercover".
  13. Mike78

    Mike78 Well-Known Member

    I've now seen in several places here at CleanMPG a common misconception that I'd like to weigh in on. On nearly all modern fan motors there is a resistor which acts to enable the slower fan speeds when present(each level below max/high). To elaborate, in the old days (don't ask me to look it up I don't have the details) you had a separate coil/motor for each fan level. This scenario would offer a truly different level of electric demand for each fan speed. However with the use of a resistor you can have multiple fan speeds using only one primary motor. This is obviously a huge efficiency in terms of space and parts. The resistor works by converting the surplus electricity into heat. The heat is disappated into the air flow of the climate control system.

    The downside is you are always using "high" power regardless of the fan speed. This concept is evident to anyone who has ever had their climate control blower motor resistor fail, as the only speed that works is high. By the way, the lower the fan speed you use, the more you are "resisting" and the quicker your resistor will overheat and burn out (I found this out after I formerly would leave it on low for extended periods and went through a lot of resistors).

    Now I've always been a believer in coming up with a solution when you discount someone else's idea, so in light of what I mentioned above, here is what I do to maintain maximum efficency in my vehicle:

    Summer time operation - Given the fact that my 2 year old is with me 90% of the time I'm in the car, A/C is pretty much a given. I'm not willing to make him suffer. But I do cycle the air on and off to maintain a comfortable temperature without excess. Here's what you can do. Slide the temperature scale all the way to coldest; never move it from this position. If you have a "MAX" selector use it, otherwise there should be the presence of a fresh air vs. recirculate option - go with recirculate. MAX and recirculate are essentially the same thing. They function to take the existing cold (or in the winter - warm) air from the cabin and further chill (or heat) it. This is clearly much more efficient that taking the hot outside air and asking the system to cool it down. Now with recirc on, temp on the coldest setting, and the A/C button engaged, switch the fan speed to "High". Using high is the most efficient because it allows for the maximum heat transfer (away from and out of the cabin) in the quickest possible way - and you're using the same amount of electricity you would be using on low, medium, or high. Once the desired temp is reached, switch off the A/C button. This will disengage the compressor, the highest workload on the A/C system. Continue to let the fan blow for up to about a minute as you will be taking the remaining coldness off the system and moving it into the cabin. Once the air coming out is close to the ambient temp of the cabin, them completely switch off the fan. Repeat as desired.
  14. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Hi Mike;

    Is there a particular vehicle you are referring to (does it have auto climate control) ?

    I agree. In the more common fan/blower configurations the resistors can get pretty hot when operated at their lower settings and resistor failures are somewhat normal. In the winter, those failures can obviously be more frequent since we're continuously drawing in hot air over the resistors which only helps make things worse for the resistor in use... but in the summer the equation may change a bit especially is the AC is mostly on.


  15. Mike78

    Mike78 Well-Known Member


    Good point, I did not take into consideration newer "auto" climate control systems which I am less familiar with. The suggestions given were toward the convention climate control systems still used by the majority of conventional automobiles. You are correct though - auto CC systems are becoming more prevalent especially on newer vehicles.

    Having used them only sparingly when say renting a car, I think the concepts would still be similar. Say for example you have one where you set the actual desired temperature as a digital readout (i.e. 70 degrees). Using that example, the system will add warm air from the heater core (hot coolant flowing through) to mix with the cold air from the evaporator to dispense comfortable air flowing into the cabin. This is highly inefficient. Settings the temperature to the coldest setting (likely to be 55-60 degrees) and then completely turning off the system once the desired temp is reached would be much more efficient. Again, this works most efficiently in the reverse for winter time. Setting the highest temperature possible (combined with recirculate) will prevent the system from adding cold outside air to the very hot air from the heater. Cycling on and off will reach the same end result (comfortable cabin temp) while maintaining much greater efficiency.

    I have to say I have no familiarity with the CC systems on hybrids whether they use the same technology or something dramatically different.
  16. dborn

    dborn Member

    I think in this case, it has more to do with the warmth it is stealing from the coolant than the actual fan motor drawing too much current (as far as an impact on FE).

    Since the HCH-II has auto climate control, the fan speed in "infinitely" variable so it isn't switching on a resistor bank but probably has some sort of pulsed modulation for controlling the fan speed (just guessing here).

    In the summertime, using high fan speeds with the AC only signals to the ECU to use both mechanical and well as electrical compressors to cool down quicker, limiting the fan speed (by selecting higher temps in "auto" mode) will only activate the electrical compressor and leave the hungrier mechanical belt-driven compressor unused.

    In the winter here in Quebec (usual temps in the -10C range (10F)), I tend to dial in the degrees to 21C (70F) but leave the fan speed at 1 or 2 pips until I reach the highway.

    When the car is warmed up, leaving it in "recirculate" mode will usually fog up your windows pretty quick unless the AC is on....

    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
  17. Kacey Green

    Kacey Green Well-Known Member

    Also using the defroster will activate the belt driven side of the Hybrid A/C Compressor

    IACEYOU Member

    New here. Love the site and especially the article on winter driving etc.

    I had two winter tires installed today on the front of my 2008 HCH. I had wanted to get the Michelin X/ice but they were not available, probably due to the press they got here.;) Instead I purchased two Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice (P195/65R15 89Q). I went with replacing only the front tires because I am not concerned about braking or cornering, just about getting started from a complete stop etc. So far I can really tell the difference from the stock tires.

    Has anyone else used these particular tires, and has anyone else just put winter tires on the front? I only plan on keeping them on through March. Pros/cons to only putting two on? I suppose I would pop for two more if convinced or if I have problems with handling. This is my first winter with the HCH as I drove a CRV the past five years.

    I love the HCH though. I drive equal amounts of city/hwy miles, about 350-400 miles per week. I drive tenderly but don't cause problems in traffic when it's heavy. I usually get 45-47 mpg, double what I was getting with the CRV, and I'm very happy with that.

    This blocking of the grill interests me so I think I'll check with my private garage in Omaha, they only work on Hondas and are very knowlegeable.

    It's great to be here at your site.

  19. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    "because I am not concerned about braking or cornering"

    Maybe you should be ;)

    On our very first car I just got snows on the front, close to 30 years ago now. I recollect going down a snowy hill and trying to slow down a bit, touching the brakes. Just about went into the curb. I honestly don't know what difference snows on all four would have made, but the consensus today is to go with snows all-round. Some places won't even sell you anything less. There's some salesmanship in that, but still: 4 snows is better/safer.
  20. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Welcome, Ken! It is good to have you. :)

    Stick around -- there is a wealth of information about your vehicle here and much of it deals with how to get the best fuel economy available from it, as well as maintenance aspects.

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