Winter driving can be a challenge, but you’ll increase the chances of keeping you and your family safe if your vehicle is prepared for winter conditions. What’s it mean to Winterize Your Vehicle? It means a lot more than just putting on winter tires. There’s a host of fluids, supplies and hardware to check so you can be prepared for the unexpected. Get your vehicle ready for winter quickly and easily with our handy checklist.
Install winter tires. Your winter tires can go on as soon as temperatures hit 7 C. The special rubber compound in your winter tires allows them to stay flexible and grip snow and ice for optimum traction.
Check your air pressure in all four tires and your spare tire. Cold air can make the pressure in your tire drop significantly, which can affect your vehicle’s ability to bite ice and snow. It’s a good idea to check the inflation of your spare as well and ensure your tire changing kit is on board and intact.
Fluids, systems and hardware
Check, change or top up all fluids. This includes everything from engine coolant and oil to windshield washer fluid and gas. You should always have at least half a tank of gas in the winter because you could be idling longer in traffic jams or in the ditch wanting to warm up with the engine running intermittently. Having a full tank also prevents condensation in your gas tank and lines which can be excessive with winter temperatures.
Check your blades, battery, brakes and belts. Your wiper blades should be changed at least twice a year so they can effectively wipe away blowing snow and rain. Have your battery checked to see if it’s in good enough shape to get your car started and running through the winter. Optimum braking is critical in the winter when your car needs to perform on snow and ice so have them checked along with your engine belts and hoses while you’re at the shop.
Check your a/c and your exhaust systems. Many drivers don’t realize it’s actually your air conditioning system that vehicles use to defrost and de-humidify inside your car. You’ll also want to make sure your exhaust system is intact to avoid leaking exhaust pipes or mufflers which could cause carbon monoxide poisoning and decrease the efficiency of your vehicle. While you’re at it, make sure that block heater is still working.
Pack an emergency kit. Your kit should include some supplies for you and your passengers, including a first aid kit, bottled water, health bars, boots, gloves, and an extra winter coat. Remember to dress for winter every day. Even if it looks sunny and mild when you head out, you could be facing a blizzard on the way back.
Your kit should also contain 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. Did you know if you only have all-season tires, you are required by law to carry chains on certain highways and mountain passes?
Set your vehicle up for safety by following our checklist to get your vehicle ready for winter. When you you’re finished, check out our post on winter tire myths.
When you visit a Kal Tire location near you to have your winter tires installed, we’ll also perform our True Service Inspection, which includes checking your fluids, wiper blades, exhaust system and more. Book your appointment today! #TalkToKal