Just Starting Your Car in a Siberian Winter Is a Multi-Hour Ordeal

And once you get underway, the challenges don't stop.

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A man wraps a blue tarp around the base of an off-road vehicle to start it in extreme cold.
Photo: Kiun B via YouTube

I live in Southern California, so the closest I get to having to deal with cold weather is at this time of year when it dips down into the 40s at night and I still complain about getting into a cold car in the morning. The people who live in places like Siberia have to deal with real cold, though, and the lengths they go to in order to start their vehicles are incredible.

In this video by YouTube channel Kiun B, we see a couple of guys in the Yakutia region of Siberia working on the multi-hour process of thawing out their UAZ 469-B SUV, only to find that once they get underway, they have other problems.

How We Drive a Car at -50°C (-58°F) | Yakutia, Siberia

The degree of cold being exhibited here is completely alien to me, so when they’re driving and the UAZ’s windshield defroster doesn’t do anything to keep a sheet of ice from building up on the inside of the windshield, my first reaction of “wow, that must be broken on that classically Soviet automobile,” made sense, but was totally wrong, which we see as the two guys get back to their garage.


Now, I’ve seen things like grille blankets or even grille shutters, but insulating a car by putting a thick felt blanket on the engine or sealing off the bottom of the vehicle using a tarp is on a whole other level. Putting a second piece of glass over the windshield to prevent icing is genius and works on a similar principle to the Pinlock insert on a motorcycle helmet.

So, what’s the coldest weather you’ve ever had to drive in, and what lengths did you have to go to to make your car work in it?