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So I have a 1995 Civic hatchback without AC. No AC installed from factory.

The car has a radiator on the right half of the front of engine compartment (instead of covering the entire front of the engine compartment as normal on most cars).

I am wondering if I should cover the other half of the front of the engine compartment for the winter (there was a cover installed by the previous owner but I removed it for the summer).

I am concerned that the cold air flow into the engine compartment will negatively affect the engine over time, especially on cold days driving on the highway (prolonged driving at higher speeds).

Is this a legitimate concern? I live in Raleigh NC, the lowest temps we get here are in the single digits F.

I plan on re-installing the cover, but I am wondering what the issues would be if I do not. (Co-workers have said I do not need to re-install it, but I disagree.)

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From what I remember from my Civic driving days, the radiator in that car only extends half way across the grill of the car, and the other half is blocked off by a plastic cover as you mentioned.

You also mentioned that you removed this cover in the summer to increase airflow to the engine. This is actually the opposite of what you should have done, because that plastic cover diverts air that would enter the engine bay, and forces it through the radiator, aiding in the cooling of the engine. Allowing the air to enter the engine bay instead of the radiator will not make a significant difference in engine temperatures.

This engine doesn't run particularly hot (small displacement, low compression) so running without the plastic cover shouldn't cause too many problems, but at the same time, the car was designed to work in a huge range of cold-hot temperatures without modification.

I recommend you re-install the plastic cover behind the grill and forget about it. The cover is designed to aid in cooling the engine regardless of ambient temperature, and running without it will only diminish the cooling capacity that Honda engineered the car to have.

  • Good point about forcing air into the radiator during the summer. I should have left it installed, and will do so this summer. – user25009 Jan 6 '17 at 18:14

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