Winter Car Maintenance: How to Take Care of your Vehicle
Canadian drivers should continue to take preventive measures and make sure their cars are ready for plenty of snow, ice and below freezing temperatures. Here are some winter car maintenance tips to remember throughout the season:
Ideally, wiper blades should be replaced every six months. Streaks or missed spots are signs the blades should be replaced. When flurries appear, visibility is limited. Also, make sure you have enough wiper fluid and keep some in your winter emergency kit.
Cold temperatures can drastically harm your car’s battery performance. A way to help preserve the longer life span of your car battery during winter is to reduce the fan speed of your heater and turn off the glass defrosters right after the window has been defogged. It’s best in winter to have a fully-charged battery to avoid being stranded. Although, if you do find yourself in that situation, use the essential items in your vehicle emergency kit and call roadside assistance.
Be prepared for any scenario with a roadside emergency kit. If you haven’t done so already, make sure the kit is up to date with winter items. These kits can be purchased at various hardware stores and some of the items you may already have at home. The emergency kit should include windshield wiper fluid, an ice scraper, fuel line antifreeze, booster cables, a blanket, traction mats, kitty litter, a shovel, flashlight, cell phone charger, reflective vest, matches, survival candle, water and non-perishable food items. All of these items are valuable in emergency situations.
Cold weather can also take a toll on your vehicle’s engine. Make sure there aren’t any leaks in the engine which would cause coolant (antifreeze) to spill out. Warming up your car by idling, isn’t good for the engine either. With the cold weather, it’s understandable; as long as you don’t heat it for more than 30 seconds. Not only is idling your engine for a long time bad for the environment, but also bad for your wallet.
Take care of those winter tires! Be sure to keep checking they are properly inflated. Cold temperatures can cause your tires to lose air more rapidly. For a step by step guide on how to check your tire pressure, read our What You Need to Know About Winter Tire Pressure blog post.
If you continue to look after your vehicle this cold season, it will do its part by keeping you warm and helping you get to your destination safely. Remember to check the weather forecast before heading out, give yourself plenty of extra time and drive slowly.