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How Do Russians Maintain Their Cars in the Extreme Cold?

Maintaining cars is supposedly an easy task. At most, we just have to bring our vehicles to our mechanics for maintenance. But did you know that service centers in Russia provide auto blankets to keep your car warm?

Maintaining cars in the coldest towns of Russia is not as simple as you may think. Some even leave their cars running during the coldest months of the year unless their car batteries freeze solid or run out of fuel.

Russia’s Coldest Cities

Temperatures usually drop below freezing point in the northern cities of Russia. Just like cities in the Siberian region like Yakutsk. By mid-October, the temperature drops to -30 degrees celsius. (Source: RBTH)

Yakutsk is known to be the world’s coldest city and, interestingly enough, it is home to about 300,000 people.

Oymyakon, on the other hand, is known as the coldest permanently inhabited place on earth. There are only 500 people who live in this town. It has only 3 hours of sunlight during winter time. This particular city is just 575 miles away from Yakutsk, but traveling by car takes about two days.

Living life in the coldest cities is different. Amos Chapple, a photographer from New Zealand, noticed that Russians visit their friends and neighbors multiple times a day, yet their visits only last a couple of minutes. He soon discovered that these visits served as relay points to the Russians.

To avoid staying out and in the cold for extended periods, they do pit stops where hot tea and some toast are usually offered. Once fully consumed, they continue to travel to their destination. (Source: Wired)

Maintaining Cars in the Coldest Cities

Russians have adapted to the cold well, and they have devised several ways of maintaining their cars during the harshest weather.

Since underground parking is uncommon due to the permafrost, most people take off their car’s batteries and store them, leaving their cars outside and switching to public transportation during the winter season.

Others install parking heaters which are switched on remotely about an hour before they are scheduled to use their cars, while others purchase warm portable garages. The portable garage looks like a quilt cover. It is then stretched over the car’s body to prevent it from freezing. The portable garages are not cheap, but they help out in maintaining their vehicles during the winter.

Those who are thrifty or do not have the budget for a portable garage visit local car service centers to have their cars insulated. The bottom of the vehicle is covered with a tarp, and the engine is covered with felt or an auto blanket. The auto blanket allows the car to warm up faster and prevents it from cooling down too quickly.

And the most radical method to keep cars from freezing is simply keeping the engine running from autumn onwards. People park their vehicles on a slight slope to avoid water from collecting in the exhaust, and they leave their cars running for months on end.

They keep the engine running and lock the car with the alarm system. They use the backup key to unlock their cars should they need to use it. (Source: RBTH)

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