Fiat Pop 400c’s sold in colder areas have cold-weather packages. My popalicious car is from the south, and has no such thing, so it’s being slowly winterized.

Two challenges for cold weather: Pop engines won’t start at -20 F, and perhaps I won’t either. The certainty of a sneauxpocalypse in the Northwoods this year has had me gravely worried. People talked about driving to school last year in -35 F. Yeah.

Remote starters are luxury up here, but engine block heaters are a Pop necessity. We went to the Fiat dealer in Appleton (great folks there) to get the heater and starter installed. The mechanics had some difficulties with the starter, but got the job done. The remote starter seems to have a decent range, but I haven’t thoroughly tested it or put it through its paces.

A couple of annoyances: No doors will open, including the trunk, except for the driver’s side. That’s probably a safety and security thing, though it might be an installation error. It makes grocery shopping tough, because you can’t load anything in the hatch until you get into the car and turn it on legitimately.

I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to test the engine block, hopefully before the Spring semester, and today is still not the day even though it’s OMG cold. At -20 F outside, it’s only -1 F in the garage. The car started just fine. This gives me confidence that I can get to school on any day – getting home still worries me. I’m thinking about experimenting by parking the car outside the garage.

What exactly is -20 F? Exposed skin gets frostbite in 10 minutes. This morning, ice had collected on the inside of the kitchen windows. Campus was closed due to inclement weather, a rare thing, but classes haven’t started yet.

Frost on the INSIDE of the windowpane
Subzero weather

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