A Hybrid Owner’s winter survival guide

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

  1. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member

    Oh, ok good. I definitely leave it in D when I know I won't be sitting long. Thanks Manuel.

    Kacey, I'll try switching to L and see how that goes, thank you.

    I really like getting that 1 bar of regen to drop in the mornings. It's like the magic little bar and by the time I get to work I easily have charged the battery to near full capacity even in 16 degree weather.

    One other thing I noticed in the winter is that I rarely see the battery go down to 2 or 1 bars before it force recharges. Lately when it recharges the battery is at a "low" 5 or 4 bars. It then quickly recharges to 7, but not 8.

    Funny, I have had this car for over 2 years and still surprises me at times.

  2. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    Hi Msantos.

    I have received a written response from a customer relations specialist with Honda Canada. He tells me that the long intermediate left and right underbody panels "are not available on Civic Hybrids produced for the Canadian Market".

    He points out that Honda reserves the right to fine tune the build sheet for various countries they sell to. He cites for example that heated mirrors are standard in Canada, but omitted in the States.

    I've noticed other variations over the years with various Hondas. Often the disc brake design varies, for example. Some of these component variations can be frustrating and alienating to potential customers. The heated mirrors for example: I have heated mirrors on the west coast of Canada. Meanwhile someone in the northern central US, where they might be useful, does not.

    The block heater keeps coming to my mind, as a current accessory, that should be standard equipment. It is an expensive hassle to add post-sale. My dealership more-or-less threw the instructions away, and leveraged up the quoted price. Also, any after-sale install just wastes perfectly good anti-freeze.

    Anyway to get back to my original issue: two other Canadian HCHII owners have responded that they also do not have these panels, in the thread I started on this question. However, you report that you do have the panels on your '06, and your wife has them on her '07. Were these 2 Civic's regularly purchased, through Canadian dealers?

    If your purchases were through regular Canadian dealership, I think I'm still flogging a dead horse, but I'm just curious ;)
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2009
  3. Kacey Green

    Kacey Green Well-Known Member

    The '09 leather equipped US models do have heated mirrors finally.

    I just wish the timer for the defrost actually worked, many times I'll forget and the only reason it gets turned off is because I'm restarting from a FAS (when the car kills all my darned 12v electronics GRRR)
  4. bernieball

    bernieball New Member

    My Civic may have recently demonstrated one reason that Civic Hybrids produced for the Canadian market do not have the panels. We had a rare snow event yesterday and when driving home I started hearing a scraping noise from beneath the car whenever I passed over a "dip" in the road. I stopped to look for the source of the noise and discovered that water had penetrated the joints in the panels and subsequently froze. This caused the retaining pins on both panels (on both sides) to become unfastened, allowing the panels to drag.

    I'm about to call the dealership and discuss this with them. I would like to think that since both sides became damaged at the same time they would see this as a design issue and fix it at their cost.
  5. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member


    Sorry to hear about your problem, and hope it's resolved by the dealership. I purchased the mid-panels we were missing, and put them in myself. So far no issues.

    One thing I can think of for your issue: the panels lap over top of the next one at their ends. They should be installed so that the panel nearer the front-of-vehicle covers the next one in line, kind of like shingles on a roof. Maybe one was reversed?
  6. bernieball

    bernieball New Member

    The panels were in place when I purchased the car new and I'm pretty sure that they were correctly installed. Either way, there isn't anything that one could do to keep water out. I guess it would be helpful to minimize the amount. :eyebrow:

    The panels are setup to shed/drain any water that gets in the area but I believe that water on the road was just above freezing and the spray just started creating a series of very thin ice layers that built up. Something had to give and thankfully it was the fasteners/pins. I had to use a car wash's power nozzle and about 4 dollars in quarters to break up the ice. The pins were about 1.90 each and I only needed 4 so I'm not set back too much.

    That's probably my first issue in 74K miles (I think).

    IACEYOU Member

    I highly recommend the Goodyear tires mentioned above. They worked great and my mileage did not go down at all. I do plan on purchasing two more to have a full set for next winter, and I do not expect mileage to be affected. Sams Club has them for $91.00 each. Not too shabby.
  8. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Re: A Hybrid Owner’s winter survival guide - Updated

    With the onslaught of the freezing temperatures many of us are once again gunning for our winter toolkits and last year's "know-how" in an attempt to keep the FE losses at bay.

    It is with this in mind that we updated the "A Hybrid Owner’s winter survival guide" to not only demonstrate the winterizing of the 3G 2010 Prius but also add/tweak a few other tips.

    More pics will follow in the upcoming two weeks. ;)

    I will also be seeking to publish a few additional pics regarding the winterizing of the 2009 HCH and the 2010 Honda Insight as soon as I get a chance ;)


  9. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member

    I just bought new pipe insulation. I have since removed my front decorative plate and cut the insulation to span the width of the lower grill, blocking any openings.
    We have already had mornings in the mid 40's! Looking forward to the updates!

  10. mgyucht

    mgyucht Member

    Thanks, MSantos! This is a great article, and I learned a lot about how these hybrids drive from it.
    Just one question: do any of these tips work for any other cars? There seems to be a lot of articles about the HCH-II and the Priuses in this forum, but I drive a HI-II; is there a big difference between my car and the HCH-II?


  11. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Hi Miles;

    Except for the temperature transition tables and the amount of blocking foam you use, there should be no difference between your HI-II and the cars referenced in the article. In fact, most of this stuff applies quite well to any other modern car too, if you are willing to ignore the hybrid specific stuff.

    With this said, your car does have a unique temperature transition table that is definietly not shared with the HCH-II. While the number of stages/states remains the same, the temperature thresholds have been moved around a bit (for the better), so ... If you block your front grille, pay good attention to the Outside Air Temperature as that is the one that shows the greatest improvement.
    In other words, the HI-II will perform better than the HCH-II at lower temps ;)


  12. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member


    I'm considering getting the Rain X Anti Fog, but I've read a lot of reviews that claim that it doesn't work or it worsens the situation. Is there something that they are not doing to allow this product to work? How has your experiences been with it?

  13. TheForce

    TheForce He who posts articles

    I tried it once and it was horrible. It was worse than a foggy window. The defogger did not work at all on removing it and I had to wipe off the condensation.

    The regular Rain X on the other hand is one product that really works. Dont even need to use the wipers in the rain 99% of the time.

    I'm wondering if anyone has use the sno shields? I know it will work on preventing ice but what about fogging? I'm thinking about getting one.
  14. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Hi Jess and Jay;

    In my experience, the anti-fog Rain-X product is a bit tricky to apply and it took me a couple of tries to get it just right. First, we have to make sure we apply it in a heated garage and then we have to make sure that we completely wipe off any excess. Doing so multiple times will help a fair bit and I usually only have to do it once every winter.

    One side effect of the product is that even though it does help prevent fogging, it also promotes water beading via condensation when the interior humidity is just too high.

    In other words: Instead of allowing the tiny water particles to remain in suspension on the windshield (fog), the product actually promotes the formation of larger beads which may slide down the glass (not good). I avoid this by maintaining a good amount of strategic air circulation inside the cabin.

    Yes, the regular Rain-X is a far more tolerant product but it too needs to be applied under the proper conditions and the right way to offer maximum benefit. I apply both in multiple coats just before the arrival of the sub-freezing temps.


  15. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member

    I think I'm going to pass on it. I have some Rejx though that I'll reapply to the windshield. I have the week off, so maybe I'll just do the whole car. :D

    Thanks you!

  16. dhilldiner

    dhilldiner New Member

    I live in the Washington DC area and talked to my Honda dealer about installing an engine block heater in my HCH II hybrid. He said it would have no impact in warming up the engine faster in the winter. He claimed that the HCH II does not circulate the engine coolant until the engine is warmed up so heating up coolant prior to starting it is useless. He also said that partially blocking the engine grill would not help either. He had never heard of any HCH II hybrid owner in my area installing an engine block heater of blocking the grill.

  17. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Hi dhilldiner;

    I guess I should be confused, but sadly this is not the first time I learn of deficient and unfortunate statements by some dealers.

    I am sorry to say this, but the dealer is not only wrong on most counts but they also fail one of the most basic elementary tests... and short of telling you that you avoid this dealer at all costs, I would at least suggest you watch them carefully whenever you service your vehicle at their location. Personally, I would seek a second opinion from an alternate dealer. For me, a smarter and more informed answer would seal the deal.

    While I am an ardent supporter of good dealers and the good service and value they often offer to hybrid owners, I have nothing but contempt for those who fail this miserably.


  18. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    Block heater is not heating the radiator's coolant, but rather the engine block (hence the name).

    Hybrids are even more able to benefit from EBH and grill blocking than conventional cars, since they better exploit the warm engine.
  19. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    Use of the block heater for a couple of hours results in at least the top of the radiator being warm to the touch, in my experience. That's one of the feedbacks I use to verify it's working.

    There is a mechanical valve in the coolant line, referred to as a thermostat, that prevents flow of coolant through the radiator until the temp has risen, essentially to speed engine warm-up.

    But as mentioned by ksstathead, the coolant being heated by the block heater is within the engine area, literally at the coolant drain bolt location on the engine. With convection currents, the warming coolant warms the entire engine and any coolant in connecting hoses upstream of the thermostat.
  20. jimepting

    jimepting Well-Known Member

    Excellent article and very interesting. The general information regarding block heaters and grill blocks is of course useful to all, but I'm wondering if there is a source of the operating modes and temperature transition charts for the Insight 1. I think I have been able to spot some transitions by watching the SGII water temp and the FCD, but I'm wondering if anyone has written down the complete and accurate tables?

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