Prior to 1980, winterizing your car was a necessary process to ensure your car would run all winter long. Fortunately, modern cars don’t require the same extensive winterization. With that said, there are still a few things you can do to keep you and your vehicle safe this winter. Read on for five ways you can winterize your vehicle to make sure it handles winter road conditions with ease. Many of these things you can do on your own, but a few require the expertise of a trained mechanic.
Check your Battery
Cold weather can be extremely tough on your car’s battery. The reactions required to generate power in a car battery slow down in cold temperatures, giving your battery less power. Combine that with the fact that during cold weather your engine requires more current from the battery to get the engine started and you will quickly see the problem. Schedule a battery test the next time your vehicle is in the shop to see if your battery needs to be replaced to make sure it lasts through the winter.
Switch to Winter Tires & Maintain Tire Pressure
If you live in a snowy area (like Edmonton), you should really consider investing in a set of winter tires. Winter tires are made up of a softer rubber which allows them to keep their flexibility in the cold. They also have special tread patterns designed to grip into snow and ice, providing you with more traction.
Regardless of the tires you choose, you should be checking your tire pressure more regularly during the winter as the cold temperatures can cause your tires to gain or lose pressure. Every 10 degrees could mean a gain or loss of 1 PSI, so check your tire pressure often and adjust as necessary.
Inspect your Four-Wheel Drive
Four-wheel drive (4WD) provides better traction when driving on snowy and icy roads. Have your 4WD inspected by a mechanic to ensure the system engages smoothly and that the transmission and gear fluids are topped up.
Install Winter Wipers & Keep Washer Fluid Full
Winter windshield wipers are equipped with rubber that helps keep ice from collecting on the blades. Be sure to remove them when spring comes as winter wipers are heavier than regular ones, and will increase wear and tear on the wiper motor if left on year round.
You’ll also want to make sure your windshield washer fluid reservoir is always topped up, as winter is a season full of dirt, mud and salt. Make sure you choose a solution that contains an antifreeze agent so it doesn’t freeze in the washer lines.
Create A Vehicle Emergency Kit
You never know when you might find yourself stranded in your vehicle in the snow. Keeping the following items in your car will keep you safe and warm until help arrives.
- First aid kit
- Flashlight & batteries
- Water & non perishable food
- Extra warm clothes (jackets, mitts, toque, etc.)
- Jumper cables
- Extra washer fluid
There’s no doubt that winter driving conditions can be hazardous. By taking the steps above, you can help to keep you and your family safe. If you need help getting your vehicle ready for winter, stop by or give us a call to schedule an appointment.