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Moving a car from a warm climate to a cold one

We have a 1999 Toyota Camry, 4-door, 4-cylinder sedan with about 95,000 miles on it. We want to give it to our son who lives in Cambridge, Mass.

Having lived in Southern California all its life, how is the car likely to do on the east coast? Is there any reason not to take it back there permanently?

2) If the car is transferred to the Boston area, does anything need to be done to it to survive eastern weather–undercoating, etc?

3) It has been using premium gas all its life; can it switch to regular without consequences?

4) Also can the airbags be tested/checked out to make sure they are still functioning well? They have never been deployed.

Thank you SO much for nay advice you can give me!

Marjorie Milstein

The car doesn’t care what the outdoor temperature is, it’ll be fine. Change out the anti-freeze/coolant so it’s good down to -25 degrees or so.

  1. Why have you been using premium? Waste of money, not good for the car.

  2. The car runs a test of the airbags every time you start it up. If there’s a problem, your airbag warning light will come on.

Send the car to Cambridge.

1-No problem moving it at all
2-Nothing besides making sure it’s maintained properly and that the battery is in good shape. I would not undercoat it, that’s just about never done any more.
3-It does not need premium, so switch to regular now.
4-No need to test the airbags. If something in the circuitry goes bad the airbag warning light will go on.

You don’t need to do ANYTHING to your Camry. It will adjust to life in Cambridge just fine.

Your Camry was rust-proofed at the factory. Nothing else is necessary.

Your Camry was designed to run on regular gas. Premium is a waste of money and does nothing for the car.

The airbag system tests itself every time you start the car. As long as the light is off the system is working as designed.

It will do fine. Assuming he’s using all-season tires, he will want good tread on them (no less than 6/32) when next winter starts. Make sure the coolant is fresh then also. Aftermarket undercoating actually causes rust problems, so avoid that. This car doesn’t need premium gas, so I’m afraid you’ve been throwing away quite a bit of money for no reason. As for the airbags, as long as the warning light comes on for a moment when you start the car and doesn’t stay on, there’s really nothing else you can check.

Just be sure to tell him that the windshield wash bottle is full of “summer mix”. People forget to purge the summer mix and replace if with winter mix and the lines freeze up.

If he lives in Cambridge I’m sure he’ll know everything else he needs to do to prep it for winter.

One other thing- it should have a good set of tires for winter use, but he can take care of that based on his experience.

4) Also can the airbags be tested/checked out to make sure they are still functioning well? They have

As I recall that car called for regular. And it should be used with regular. Regular and premium is not a quality difference, it is a difference in how fast the fuel burns. Premium fuels burn slower, allowing some cars to produce more power and or mileage. If it is not recommended by the manufacturer you are wasting you money and maybe doing a little damage (likely very little if any).

Agree with the others.
Antifreeze/coolant, check and adjust to coldest temps anticipated or colder.
Washer fluid winter mix.
Oil viscosity, if the owner’s manual suggests temp differences use the appropriate type.

Otherwise the car is pretty dang smart and will adjust itself for altitude and temp.

( here at 6500 ft altitude yesterday’s temps ranged from 27 overnight to 68 daytime. The cars never even notice. )

Is there a summer or warmer climate Antifreeze mix??

I’ve never heard of it.

50/50 is the BEST mix for warm or cold climates.

Some people run straight water or water with water wetter if they’re in climates that never freeze. Not saying it’s the best idea, but it’s a very good idea to check the coolant mix and make sure it’s right if you’re going to take the car where it freezes.

Too bad they don’t realize that they’re sacrificing water pump lubricant. Oh well, what is a fella to do!

Charge them to replace the pump when they break it ahead of schedule, of course :wink:

Not to mention, it’s probably better described as a “anti-freeze, anti-boil, lubricate and transfer heat” fluid…

Yup. I agree with both of you.

Double check the owner’ manual for fuel recommendation. If it says regular is recommended, regular will be fine. If it says to use slightly higher octane, then use at least an inbetween grade of gas. The computer will shift parameters slightly if you use lower grade than recommended. It won’t hurt it, but it may get reduced mileage. Click and Clack did a thing on this some time ago.

1- no problem car will do fine on the east coast. They sold of lot 4 cylinder Camry’s in the Northeast.

2- no it doesn’t need anything special. Before winter hits make sure the washer fluid is the blue kind good for not freezing up to -25 degrees. Have the coolant checked to be sure it is good down to -30 degrees. Put on new wiper blades, even consider the special winter blades that don’t freeze up with ice. Winter tires might be a good idea if he has to drive every day whether or not it is snowing.

3- they sell premium in the Northeast, but your car really is made for regular. Premium isn’t doing the car any good, so switching to regular is not going to hurt the car at all.

4- airbags systems self test every time you start the car. A light will come on and stay on if the airbags have a problem.

Your car has a good start as far as rust is concerned. A 99 is so old that it needs nothing underneath because it has lived in a rust-not zone since it was new. It should be waxed at least three or four months, or any time after that, before going to “rain city”. A car that hasn’t been waxed in years will rust every scratch on the body almost immediately after it gets to New England. Where it’s going it will have many dings and dents in it very soon. You won’t even recognize the car in two years anyway.

What everyone else said :slight_smile:

I moved from So Cal to Vermont 32 years ago with a '78 Celica. The only thing I had to do was get winter tires. AND HE SHOULD AS WELL. Either TRUE winter tires or VERY GOOD all seasons that rate well in snow. “All Season” doesn’t mean ALL seasons EVERYWHERE. The tires that came on my '04 Prius from the factory were “All season” and they sucked in even light snow. Actually, they sucked on any loose surface as well. I think “All Season” means they will roll in ALL seasons :wink:

Good point about those tires. All season sometimes means that they are theft-proof 24/7 no matter what time of year it is.

New. I should have said the Prius all season tires from the factory were theft-proof all year. Same as run-flats; unless you have a flat one, you wouldn’t want to steal one.