It may look pretty, but winter is tough on cars. It’s important to do a winter check up to ensure that your vehicle is ready for the severe conditions of a Canadian winter.
Here are a few things you can do to prepare your vehicle for winter:
- Ensure your battery is fully charged – you need full power to start your engine in cold weather. If your battery can’t keep a full charge, replace it.
- Check your brakes and replace if necessary.
- Replace your wipers with winter-grade ones.
- Use cold-weather windshield washer fluid.
Winter tires are an investment in safety
Tires are the only contact between you and the road, how they perform can make the difference between life and death. It’s smart to have the right tires for the right conditions and for most of Canada, this means having winter tires on your vehicle.
Consider the following:
- Winter tires are designed for use in snow and will always have this symbol on the side of the tire.
- Having four matching tires (same make, model and tread pattern) will give you the best results.
- Check your tire pressure once a week, especially before highway driving. Check your tires when they are cold, rather than in a warm garage. Tire pressure goes down in the cold weather so a tire that has good pressure indoors will be under-inflated when it is below zero outside. Use the maximum pressure amount shown in the owner's manual or on the doorframe as a guide, but never go above the pressure shown on the tire sidewall.
Consider packing a winter survival kit
A basic trunk kit should contain:
- A small shovel
- Sand or kitty litter for traction
- Road flares
- Extra clothing and footwear
- Chocolate bars for energy
- Booster cables
- Waterproof matches and a “survival” candle in a deep can
(to be used to warm hands, heat a drink or use as an emergency light)
- Extra windshield washer fluid
- Fuel line antifreeze
- Ice scraper and brush
- Flashlight (and batteries)
Remember, you can never be too prepared for the hazards of winter driving. It’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure you and your family are safe on the roads.
Author: Jim Mahood