Over the next six months or more, old man winter’s going to put your vehicle to the test with snow, sleet, ice and sub-zero temperatures. How can you get your vehicle ready for winter so you’re not left in a snow drift or stuck with a dead battery?
Prepare your vehicle to handle the rigours of winter with these simple maintenance tips:
1) Check your battery
When your car battery is in good shape, you’re set: your vehicle has a better shot at starting despite freezing temperatures.
Canada’s cold temperatures actually preserve the life of car batteries by resisting internal corrosion, and batteries in good shape can actually handle severe cold pretty well.
A fully charged lead-acid battery can survive 40 to 50 degrees below freezing, but a battery with a low state of charge can freeze at temperatures as high as -1 C.
If your battery’s been acting up and it’s only fall, read our post How to Tell if Your Battery is Dead or stop in at a Kal Tire store for a free battery test.
2) Get your winter tires on
While winter tires have more aggressive tread designs to grip ice and snow and expel slush, they also have a different rubber compound that allows them to remain soft and sticky at near and sub-zero temperatures. That’s really the biggest difference between all-season, all-weather and winter tires: the rubber compound.
Engineers have figured out that the rubber compound that gives all-season tires their long tread life turns hard and loses traction (think of a slippery hockey puck) at about 7 C.
Don’t forget to save your sleek custom wheels for your summer tires and use your original equipment steel wheels for winter. Steel wheels are better able to withstand salt, gravel and potholes.
3) Get a winter oil service
While your vehicle is in the shop getting winter tires installed, have a winter oil service done so we can check to make sure all your fluids and components are healthy. As part of our True Service Inspection, we’ll check everything under your hood, from brakes and fluids to tires and transmission fluid.
4) Install winter wiper blades
Winter wiper blades feature anti-clogging armour that blocks ice from freezing around the joints, a sturdier frame and a robust rubber blade designed to stay soft in freezing temperatures, all so you can see the road in even the most blistery conditions.
5) Pack a winter emergency kit
Since you just never know when a storm could hit or a deer could send your car into the ditch on the way to the ski hill, be prepared to stay safe and warm with a winter emergency kit.
An emergency kit should include a first aid kit, bottled water, health bars, boots, gloves, and an extra winter coat and boots. Make sure you’ve also got some emergency supplies for your vehicle, including booster cables, extra oil and windshield washer fluid, lock de-icer, flashlight, flares or safety triangles, an ice scraper, a shovel, a bag of salt or gravel, and possibly even some chains for your tires.
What else do you do to get your vehicle ready for winter driving?