Get your vehicle ready for frigid conditions
Winter is coming. It’s an inevitable concern if you live in Canada. From scraping snow off your car to maneuvering through a snowstorm, winter driving can be frustrating for even the most seasoned driver.
Like it or not, winter driving is a Canadian driver’s rite of passage. Although winter conditions vary province by province, and you may not have any control of the weather, knowing what to do and how to get your car winter ready is the best way to ensure you arrive at your destination safely.
Here are top winter tips to get you and your car through the winter safely:
Extend Your Battery Life
Cold temperatures can prove disastrous when it comes to battery life. As the temperature drops, so will your battery expectancy – losing power at a much faster rate. To prevent being stranded in the cold, have your battery checked by an automotive expert to determine if yours will last the winter. As a general rule, batteries should be replaced every five years or so if the vehicle is in a colder climate.
Keep the Gas Tank Full
Think those few kilometers left in your gas tank will get you to your destination? Although they might in warmer weather, fuel economy is worse during colder months due to idling and increased usage of electrical devices (heated seats and window defrosters). To save yourself from getting stranded, refilling your gas tank before the gauge hits below the halfway mark is a good idea and prevent your tank from freezing in frigid temperatures.
Winter Tire 101
Depending on where you live, finding the right tire is essential for getting you through winter safely. Take into consideration: car make, model, weather, and wear before buying winter tires. Also, if considering all weather tires, remember they are not designed for severe cold, rough weather driving conditions, something most Canadian provinces get. However, they can be an option to consider for urban drivers with no storage place. Winter tires offer the best traction, handling and braking, especially in temperatures below 7C.
Pack a Survival Kit
Keeping a winter survival kit in your car will help you stay prepared for any situation. A small shovel and non-clumping kitty litter or salt (for traction) are essentials to have if your car gets stuck in snow. In the event disaster strikes, other items to include in your kit may include: a blanket, extra jacket, hat, gloves, and boots, as well as non-perishable food items, candles and matches, emergency flares, flashlight and booster cables.
If you are at all concerned about your vehicle making it through the next few months, a pre-winter check-up is highly recommended. Visit an automotive expert before temperatures drops and ask them to check antifreeze levels, heating, ventilating and air conditioning, windshield wiper wear, and brake pads.
Regular maintenance is always a good idea, but even more so before the temperatures start to drop to help reduce the risk of car problems that might arise when things get chilly.