Can A Different Climate Cause Car Problems?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 17, 2016

Dear Car Talk:

I own a 2003 Toyota Avalon that has 45,000 miles on it. I'm the original owner, and I live in Hawaii. My wife and I are thinking of relocating to the Pacific Northwest and are wondering if the change in weather temperature will do anything to change the car's performance. The car runs really great, with no engine problems. Back in the '90s, I shipped my 1986 Chevy truck to my son, and a year later, there were all kinds of problems. One was that the engine would stall upon accelerating, which is scary when trying to zoom across a busy intersection. Another problem was when a mechanic reported that the engine fan was hitting the shroud, even though there was no accident involved. I would appreciate your feedback and thoughts. Aloha!

-- Jackson

Well, since you're moving from the earthly paradise of Hawaii to a place where it's cloudy and rainy 300 days a year, my biggest concern is that your Avalon is going to become depressed. You might need to start dropping Carzac into its tank.

But I have no worries about the move, mechanically. I guess you'll find out if the sunroof leaks, but in terms of the engine or drivability, the car won't miss a beat.

The reason your old truck started having problems a year after you shipped it to your son is because ... you shipped it to your son. He probably drove it like an animal. And that stalling probably was due to the aging carburetor. But you'll have no such problems with this car, Jackson.

On the other hand, maybe you wrote to me hoping I'd talk you out of the move. In which case, use this answer: You're going to have nothing but trouble with this car in the Pacific Northwest, Jackson. In fact, I predict it's going to cost you $60,000 or $70,000 just to get the car acclimatized to its new environment. So stay put!

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