It’s nearing that time of year when Mother Nature graces us with cold winds, slippery roads, and unfortunately, a lot of snow. Knowing how to protect you and your loved ones as winter approaches should be something you think about as you open the door to your vehicle in the mornings. In order for your vehicle to run as smoothly as possible in winter, we’ve brought you seven tips on how to winterize your vehicle before the snow truly starts to fall.
Consider switching to winter tires.
There’s a common misunderstanding that all-season tires can withstand a Canadian winter. While in some parts of Canada you may be able to get away with using all-season tires, winter tires are specifically designed for optimum traction on icy, slick roads. These tires should be installed as a full set, as merely changing the front or back tires will result in your vehicle to skid, defeating the purpose of installing winter tires in the first place.
Check your battery.
Cold temperatures can reduce your battery’s power, causing it to slow down. This can become an issue, particularly when the engine needs more current from the battery in order to start. Without the extra current from the battery, the engine won’t start in the colder weather. While there are certainly ways to test the battery at home, having your battery tested by a trained mechanic will let you know whether you should replace the battery or if it merely needs to be cleaned.
Check your fluids.
It’s very important to make sure you have the correct amount of fluids in your vehicle. Antifreeze is a necessity in the cold weather as it protects your engine from freezing and keeps your vehicle’s cooling system working properly. Oil is another key fluid in your vehicle, which helps maintain lubrication of the engine, stopping it from grinding. In the winter, oil can thicken, and it’ll cause your engine to overheat. If you don’t keep an eye on the amount of antifreeze or oil in your vehicle, there’s a possibility the engine will begin to malfunction, which can cost you more money than you wanted to spend.
Check your brakes.
There’s nothing more frightening than getting on an icy road and realizing your brakes aren’t working properly. While brake pads have an average lifespan of 64,000 kilometres, the longevity of your brakes depend on what type of a driver you are. Before the roads get too bad, it’s important to check your brakes and make sure they’re working properly, so you don’t slide off the road or into the back of another vehicle!
Ensure your lights and windshield wipers work.
Winter not only brings snowy weather, but the days are shorter as well. This means you’ll be relying on your headlights in the early morning and late afternoon. Working headlights, taillights, backup lights, signal lights, and hazard lights will help your visibility and allow others to see you while on the road. In addition to your lights, your vehicle’s windshield wipers will play an important role in the winter weather. Since the blades on the wipers are made out of rubber, they will often deteriorate, making it more difficult to see out of your windshield. For the best visibility, windshield wipers should be replaced every six to twelve months. Make sure your wipers are in good condition before the snow starts to fall.
Stock your car with emergency supplies.
While you should have a kit full of emergency supplies in your vehicle all year round, in the winter this kit may come in handy when you need it most! An extra pair of gloves, a snow brush and ice scraper, jumper cables, and a blanket are things you should keep in your vehicle at all times. Keep in mind when you’re driving to wear a pair of winter boots or put a pair in your vehicle as a precaution. You don’t want to get stuck and have to tromp through the snow in a pair of runners.
If you’re still a little lost on what you can do to prepare for winter, stop by and we’ll be able to tell you more about what you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe!