Tips To Get Your Car Winter-Ready

Is your car winter ready? Canadian winters are just around the corner and, like every other year, showing no signs of letting up on your prized gas guzzlers. There is nothing more frustrating than defrosting your car just to find out that you’ll be running late for work due to a dead battery, thickened oil or our classic ol’ tire deflation. 

 

Since you are already on the lookout for ways to winterize your car, we are off to a great start! Let’s discuss a few simple checks that can save you a lot of downtimes and hassle down the icy road.

NOTE: Before conducting these checks, go through your owner’s manual so it can guide you through the specifics of your car. 

Organize a winter emergency kit:

Rational people know to stay well prepared for uncertainties. Make a list of all the possible supplies you may need in the face of an emergency. Your winter survival kit may include jumper cables, LED roadside flares, a shovel, energy bars, water bottles, first aid kits, a blanket and so on. Make sure not to go overboard but also to cover any possible contingencies.

Call the reinforcements and replace your regular tires:

You know it’s time to switch to your winter tires when you feel that first nip in the air.  Although it is legal to use any tire marked “M+S” (Mud and Snow), it is definitely not recommended. If you plan to brave the elements, you must swap out your regular tires for snow tires. They are specifically designed to withstand extreme weather conditions of the Canadian winter, have a better grip and will stop quickly if the need arises.

Make sure to check the tire pressure once a month. In extreme weather, it’s common for the tire to expand and contract. It causes the tire to wear down and flatten out, leading to diminished performance and even accidents.

Fluid check:

Driving in this bone-chilling cold? Then you need to get your car fluids checked periodically to scope out if anything needs to be refilled or changed. You may refer to this guide for a better understanding:

 

  • Your ride needs an oil change every 8000 km. Specific oil types are recommended for winter. These are different from the regular ones as they have less viscosity and do not thicken quickly– helping the engine work more efficiently. If your car is due for an oil change, get one now. 

 

  • Coolant- flush out every 4000 km or after every two years. You may also check if your coolant needs a top-up. The coolant you use must have the correct ratio of anti-freeze to water, i.e., 50:50 or higher.

 

  • Your transmission fluid needs a change after covering 60000 km or once every three years. Its viscosity changes and gets thicker in the cold weather making it difficult for the fluid to lubricate the moving parts of your engine. It may also leak and damage your engine. Therefore, it’s advisable to swap out the regular one with synthetic fluid to accommodate the cold weather. 

 

  • You may top up your windshield washer fluid as per your requirement. Since it does not get recirculated for each use, you do not have to replace it often. However, you must note that the washer fluid that works flawlessly in summer may cause problems in the winter. The low temperatures can cause it to freeze in its reservoir, or worse, on your windshield, obstructing your visibility. So you want to get the one with a higher concentration of methyl alcohol than the typical fluid. 

 

Check your wiper blades :

When braving the winter fog or snow blizzards, clear visibility is particularly crucial. And for that, you need fully functional wiper blades in your arsenal. However, they do tend to wear out quite frequently. If you start noticing streaks on your windows after a wipe, usually, it’s a sign that you need to replace your wiper blades. Winter-specific wiper blades are built ruggedly to wipe heavy snow and freezing rains. Make sure to swap your regular ones to avoid any mishaps.

Change your battery before the weather dips:

When was the last time you checked your batteries? Typically car batteries die out in 3-5 years. Get them checked via a load test to ensure they have enough strength to start your car on a cold winter morning. OR You may replace them every four years as a precautionary measure. Remember, old batteries die out in cold temperatures. 

Additionally, you may check the cable connections, remove any corrosions and tighten them to ensure consistent contact.

Protect your car’s paint job:

Prolonged exposure to cold weather conditions can cost you your expensive paint job. In order to avoid hefty repairs to remove scratches from brushing and scraping the snow, you must follow some preventive measures. 

 

  • Avoid leaving your car exposed to frigid cold conditions. If you have a garage, prepare it to make space for shielding your ride from the weather. If not, invest in a high-quality car cover. 
  • These two practices are only effective so long as your car is parked. But what when it’s on the road? You can schedule regular car washes or get a protective wax coating on your car’s surface to prevent snow and rock salt damage.  

 

Replace your air filters:

You must replace your air filters every 20000 km or once every year. These often get overlooked during preventive checks or maintenance routines. Did you know? They play a significant role in maintaining your car’s performance! It prevents dirt particles from reaching the engine and causing damage. A regular replacement maximizes performance and prolongs engine life by increasing fuel efficiency and reducing emissions.

Keep your gas tank full:

Keep your gas tank full, especially in winter (trust me, you do not want to put it off till the fuel indicator tips to “E”). In addition to thwarting the threat of getting stranded in the harsh weather, a regularly topped-up tank has several other benefits. It prevents the fuel lines from freezing due to the icy condensation. A frozen fuel line obstructs the fuel from reaching the combustion chamber, preventing the engine from running.

Other than these straightforward yet necessary checks, you may also want to ensure that your car horn is working to its full degree all the time, invest in good quality car floor mats and give it a general tune-up. If you feel at any time that you may need professional help, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Harrad Auto Service. We specialize in all thing auto repair and maintenance. 

We hope you find this blog helpful. What are the topics that you would like us to talk about next?

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