few years ago, I was talking to our mechanic. Just a general conversation
about cars, and we came to the agreement that you needed to be
careful trusting the noises you hear in February.
before we wade too deeply along this path, a disclaimer. Neither
of us was saying not to trust the noises being made. Neither of
us was saying not to listen, or potentially more significant,
not to act. You definitely should be listening to your car, throughout
the year, and giving attention to things that donít sound right.
considerÖ around me the high temperature four days from now is
forecast to be zero. Thatís zero Fahrenheit. 32-degrees below
freezing. The high temperature for the day. A reading not adjusted
for wind or feels-like or whatever itís-even-worse-than-that measuring
stick you might want to apply. Zero, with negative numbers for
the low of the day.
do not like starting when the thermometer reads zero. While there
may be debates about the need to warm a vehicle up before hitting
the road (and, there are), there can be little question of the
ability to start the car and then immediately fire up the heater
and expect warm air or a defrosted window.
of us familiar with snow can tell you about a very special kind.
Almost like mashed potatoes. It has the right consistency and
even the right feel. Usually youíll find it on the road, when
the temperatures and conditions are right itís around, but it
seems a bit more frequent when mushed around by tires and mixed
with a bit of road salt. It changes the acoustics under your car.
Drive over that stuff and everything seems a bit different and
muffled. Youíll be convinced something is wrong simply because
it doesnít sound normal.
had a simply brutal month of February not that long ago. High
temperature average for the month was something like 6-degrees.
Low temperatures were negative numbers. Thatís for an entire month.
Kind of weather that freezes cloth and makes it shred like a sheet
of paper, makes rubber shatter like glass. Hard to believe the
materials that make up a car arenít in some way changed a bit
from the reactions they offer on a warm summer day.
house is making noises. I hear some creaks in the attic, wind
in the chimney, and the furnace keeps kicking on. Itís cold outside.
Weather reports say colder is coming. Plus, the latest snow pile
of all snow piles is due to arrive over the weekend. Hard to judge
the scenarios the cars are facing when Iím trying very hard to
stay outside only long enough o fetch the mail. (And being extremely
grateful for Sunday when the mail wonít be delivered.)
wonder how the same temperature can feel so different? Pick a
day in mid-January and another in mid-August. Set the house thermostat
to your choice. 68Ö 70Ö 72. On a snowy day with the wind howling
and things hovering around 24Ö walk in and 68 feels pretty great,
snug and warm. Sweltering humidity and the sun beating down without
mercy as the readings approach triple-digitsÖ 68 is a cool blast
to the cars and soundsÖ
point is, predicting the very worst of possibilities doesnít always
work when itís ridiculously cold outside. Materials are different.
Sounds are different.
like to investigate this a bit further, but I need to make sure
everything in the garage is all set. Shovel where I can find it.
Gas for the snowblower. I had all this stuff ready back in November,
during the first storms, but this forecast sounds a bit different.
And in the cold, sometimes you should listen.