Most people have a love/hate relationship with winter. There’s nothing like the season for festive cheer, comfort food, and warm drinks. However, it’s also a time when you can feel the cold right down to your bones, with constant complaints about cracked, dry skin and static in the air. Canadians probably know that winter’s freezing temperatures, salt, slush, and dry air can be just as tough on your car as on your body.
Getting your car through the long, cold Canadian winters is possible; it will just take a little extra TLC. Here are some useful tips for winterizing your car and protecting it from the cold.
Test the Car Battery
There are a few things more frustrating than sitting in cold temperatures and discovering your car battery is not up to the task of facing the cold weather with you. Car batteries have a limited life span, and the older the battery is, the more likely it is to die when the temperatures dip. So, before you’re left stranded, we recommend testing your battery. A computerized battery tester will be used to check the condition of the battery, starter, alternator, and the whole charging system.
It is also a good idea to ensure that your battery terminals are clean and to keep them clean. Suppose there is corrosion buildup on the battery posts and terminals. In that case, it can lead to hard starting problems (especially in the cold weather) and prevent your charging system from recharging your battery. Future corrosion can be prevented with a battery terminal protectant spray.
While we are under the hood, it is also important to ensure that you check your fluids (oil, coolant, brake fluid, and window washer fluid) and refill them if necessary. Keep in mind that not all windshield wiper fluid is the same. Switching out your everyday wiper fluid with a winter windshield wiper fluid can prevent the fluid from freezing as it comes into contact with your window and can even help loosen the ice and snow from your windshield.
Invest in Winter Wiper Blades
Visibility is extremely important, especially in the winter months when road conditions are more dangerous. Normal wiper blades are prone to get packed with snow, which leads to the blades creating streaks with every swipe or missing large sections of your windshield.
With winter wiper blades, the entire blade is enclosed in a rubber boot that prevents ice from sticking or packing, improving your visibility for winter driving. Wiper blades are easy to replace at home, so it shouldn’t take too much effort to remove your old wiper blades, store them until the next warm season, and quickly snap on your winter wiper blades.
Consider Winter Tires
At this time of year, winter tires are mandatory in some areas (like British Columbia and Quebec). In all other provinces and territories, however, it is still strongly recommended that you have the right tires for driving in winter.
Snow tires offer a lot more traction than regular tires and are better equipped to handle icy conditions by allowing you to stop easier and reducing skid in turns. These tires can be expensive, but ultimately, with better-stopping capabilities and handling on turns, winter tires are a safer, more effective, and often life-saving investment.
Whether you’re using winter tires or not, monitor your tire pressure regularly as the temperatures drop. The cold and fluctuating weather conditions can cause the air in your tires to expand or contract, lowering tire pressure and leading to increased wear and tear, decreased performance, and accidents.
Put A Winter Emergency Kit In The Car
Aside from how useful they are, keeping a winter emergency kit in your car will give you peace of mind while driving in bad weather. If you are ever stranded or experiencing a roadside emergency, a winter survival kit can mean the difference between life and death.
Here are some useful items to keep in your winter emergency kit.
For getting back on the road:
- A portable jumper pack
- Jumper cables
- Tow rope
- Sand, salt, or cat litter
- A handheld shovel
- LED roadside flares
For clearing snow and ice:
- An ice scraper
For Staying Warm:
- Handwarmers and heat packets
- Hats and gloves
- A rain jacket or poncho
Other essential items:
- Non-perishable food items such as energy bars or dried food
- A first aid kit
- Swiss army knife
- A rechargeable flashlight
- A cable to charge your phone
- A whistle
If you’re looking for help preparing your car for the winter season, Special Interest Automobiles is based in Cambridge, Ontario and provides a wide range of auto repair and maintenance services. If you need maintenance tune-ups, fleet services, AC diagnostics & repairs, tire services, suspension services, or even just an inspection, contact us today.