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Moved from AZ to MN for the winter- advice?

JohnnyBoy

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I'm not going to go into why I had to move from Arizona to northern MN for the winter. Let's just say I had to and move on!

The situation:
* '22 Lariat 501 PB 2-whl drive
* I have a garage.
* I work the night shift- 8:30PM to 5AM, 5 days a week.
* The drive each way is 1 mile and I won't be driving much other than work.
* I'm going to apply B'laster Surface Shield to the underside and will get mats for the front (prob Huskies).

Do I need a block heater?
How about using remote start for 15 minutes at each of 3 breaks?

What problems may arise when I get out of work and try to start the truck? I may keep some extra winter clothing in the truck in case I have to walk home.

This is def a one and done deal- never going to be in this kind of weather again.
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WD8CXB

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I live in Northern Ohio, and my vehicles have always started in the extreme cold. i don't believe we get as cold as MN, but we do have days where it is in the negative teens. I would make sure you have a good battery before venturing out. A block heater is awesome and would not hurt. The biggest problem I see is the distance to work. You are shutting it down before it even has a chance to warm up. My wife lives 2 miles from her work, and she remotely starts it when she is getting ready for work. She also starts it when she is leaving work. The 10 mins are not exactly enough to warm the truck up when it is extremely cold out, but it helps. The block heater will help a lot but is not a requirement. When I worked in Alberta CA most of the trucks were equipped with block heaters. Mine did not, but I had no problems. It didn't like the cold starts, but it worked., just turned over really slow. This was when I had a 1991 Ford Ranger. Am sure others will give you better advice, but these are my thoughts based on my experiences.

EDIT: my wife has a 2020 Expedition XLT with 3.5L EcoBoost, FX4, I have a 2023 Lariat on order.
 

Farmerj

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. Cause I do live in Minnesota. That 1 mile commute to work will destroy that engine faster than anything else. You don’t have enough time to get it warm, idling is as hard or worse. Your battery won’t have time to recharge like it should. You didn’t say where in northern Minnesota. If you’re around Roseau or On the border, Blockheater would not be a bad idea. You can have a month where the high might be single digits below zero.

Welcome to the tundra
 
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Tomatoboy

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That one mile drive is my biggest concern. You’re never going to warm up that vehicle or charge the starting or hybrid (I see you have a Powerboost) batteries with such a minimal drive even before you add in the cold. Personally, I’d probably put a battery tender/charger of some sort on it periodically and I’d absolutely make sure I drove it 30-60 minutes or so a week on the weekends to charge everything back up. Idling isn’t enough. Ideally, if you can take the “long way” to work and get everything warm a few days a week you’ll be better off, too. Short drive cycles are bad enough, but cold climate short drives are a vehicle killer.

I’d lean towards yes on the block heater, on a gas engine in a garage at night, it may not be mandatory, but considering that short drive, it really would be pushing it here in terms of wear and tear.
 

Tomatoboy

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Oh. And extra tip…having lived in both warm and cold climates, make sure you aren’t being cheap with the wiper fluid. Get -all- that warm climate stuff out of the system (hopefully it isn’t just water, but I had friends down south who did that so I don’t assume, I have seen more than one person with warm climate plates pop a wiper fluid tank or line due to this oopsie) and find yourself some of the stuff rated down waaaay below zero asap.
 

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kb2755

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With 2wd you probably want to invest in some dedicated winter tires. I’ll let others from Minnesota chime in on road conditions, but I barely have to switch to 4H when I’ve got mine on and we get a good amount of snow/slush/ice here.
 

ryanc111

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Don't forget a good set of tires for the snow and being a 2WD I would also put some weight in the back (cheap tube sand bags from HD work great).

Good snow tires and the added weight and you should be solid.
 

ryanc111

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Oh. And extra tip…having lived in both warm and cold climates, make sure you aren’t being cheap with the wiper fluid. Get -all- that warm climate stuff out of the system (hopefully it isn’t just water, but I had friends down south who did that so I don’t assume, I have seen more than one person with warm climate plates pop a wiper fluid tank or line due to this oopsie) and find yourself some of the stuff rated down waaaay below zero asap.
Good tip. Never fun when you spray wiper fluid that isn't temperature rated and get an instant sheet of ice on your windshield. ;)
 

BroCo

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Good tip. Never fun when you spray wiper fluid that isn't temperature rated and get an instant sheet of ice on your windshield. ;)
Or your washer lines freeze and then you have no way to clean your windshield while driving.

If I were you, I'd buy a snowmobile and ride that to work! Plus, would be a fun way to spend your weekends! I've lived in Minnesota my entire life and love it.
 

sbi

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I'll join the "1 mile engine will not warm up" gang, that is probably the single red flag I am seeing here. Definitely do not let it run for 15 minutes 3 times a day. I would invest the money you waste on that and buy a small front wheel - or a cheap 4-wheel/all wheel - sedan for the 2 mile drive each day.
 

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My 2ND Ford

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4 severe weather snow tires, block heater, correct washer solvent, try to remove as much of the old stuff as possible, you don't want it freezing in the bottle or lines. Definitely drive the truck for at least a 1/2 to 1hr each month to fully warm up the drivetrain and evaporate any moisture that has accumulated . Best of luck with the new home.
 

tbinmd

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I'm from an hour north of Duluth. Only go back during the summer but still have family up north. Most will buy a beater for winter and keep the nice vehicle in the garage. You do want a block heater. When I was dating my wife we went back for her to meet family. I remember we went to the grocery store and she was asking what was up with all the outlets in the parking, lot. I told her about block heaters and when it's 15 below, a car that sits for 20 minutes while you are shopping will be dead frozen any may not start.

Up in the mines they keep the pickups running 7x24, there's a guys job to go around and fill up the trucks.

I had to change a tire once, and ended up snapping the breaker bar because it was so cold. Don't touch metal without gloves....

Buy a beater and be done with it or snow machine.
 

Chili

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I've never used a block heater in MN. If you have 2wd put some weight in the bed (3-400lbs or so either above or in front of the rear axle, not behind).

Just remote start 10 minutes before leaving. If your battery is iffy or if you're worried about it, get a "battery blanket". passive, not powered. Probably $20.

I've driven RWD work vehicles in MN for 20 years. With weight and good tires you're fine. Don't fall into the AT tire trap, they're terrible in snow. My favorite tires for a work van were General Grabber HD's, they wore like iron and were amazing in the snow. I tried all sorts of AT's and they were not very good.

Silver lining, you will get to enjoy the joys of kicking the snow buggers off behind your front and rear tires.
 

Farmerj

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I’d drain your washer fluid where you are now and find some -32*F stuff and get it into the system.

and Use nothing else until you return to the desert.

come December, and I’d have a vehicle service done and use the recommended arctic oil in the engine.

I’d seriously look at the battery and see if you’ve even got one adequate for the northern tundra. Some vehicles sold in the south are really poorly set up for extreme cold

a decent AT3W tire like a Falken Wildpeak AT3W would do you wonders even for a 2WD. And yes, put them on all four tires.

short trips like that will create the perfect storm for condensation. Condensation leads to forming sludge and acids that ruin engines. As well cold starts are where the most damage is done to engine since the oil has drained back to the pan and the colder, slower flowing oil is slow to create wear saving oil pressure compared to room temperature.
 

ib_jigged

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I have lived in NW Minnesota my entire life (54 years) and never got stuck in the snow with a vehicle until I had a 4WD (I felt like I had to find it's limit!). I have had 2 different 2WD trucks and put a few sandbags in the rear and never really had any issues with them. I now have 4WD, as I ice fish and pull sleds around in the winter.

A garage, even unheated will be a few degrees warmer than outside, even more if it is an attached garage. Once you park your warm truck inside it helps to keep it warm for a bit. I buy vehicles with a block heater simply for resell in this area, but I can't remember the last time I have used one. I am fortunate that I have a heated garage and keep it about 40-45 minimum throughout the winter.

As for the 1 mile commute, it is tough on vehicles in cold weather. I have less than 1 mile commute, but I tend to take a little drive each day on my way too and from work to try to combat that issue. Last winter with my new '21, it would sit outside at work for 8+ hours each day and never once did it not start. We see temps of -30F quite often and even for weeks at a time.

The Falken Wildpeak AT3W's are a great tire and for normal all around driving last winter, I rarely needed 4WD with them.

A good set of floor liners is a must for me as I think they really help to keep the interior cleaner and drier. The smell of wet carpet from melting snow is not something I like.
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