Winterizing Your Car
Monday, November 24, 2014
Preparing Your Car For Old Man Winter
Alberta winters are full of surprises. There could be a balmy Chinook one day and six inches of snowfall the next. You just never know what you’re in for when you head out in your car. That’s why it pays to winterize your car – so you’re ready for anything old man winter throws at you!
Get the right rubber for the road
It’s highly recommended to have a set of dedicated winter tires for an Alberta winter. Winter tires are made with a softer rubber that allows them to grip the road better in colder temperatures. The grooves are deeper so the larger treads hold tighter in the snow. You’ll feel like your car has better traction and is easier to control on the road. Also make sure they’re properly inflated for better braking power and fuel efficiency.
Keep your battery charged
You can’t afford to have your battery die in the winter. Have it cleaned and tested. If it is not working at full capacity, replace it.
Never run on empty
It’s a bit of a mental shift to top up your tank if you still have gas in it, but during the winter, you should never let your tank go below half. You could get stuck in a traffic jam due to an accident, or it could take you longer to get to your destination than you anticipated due to bad weather.
Keep your windshield clear
Make sure your windshield washer fluid is always full, and keep an extra jug or two in your trunk. It should be washer fluid designed for cold weather as summer fluid will freeze on your windshield and impair your vision. Also make sure your wipers are in good condition so they don’t cause streaks on your windshield.
Check your brakes
Regularly check and service your brakes so they work for you when you need them the most.
Light the way
Before you get in your car, check to see if your lights are clear. If they’re covered with snow or dirt, they won’t shine as bright to light your way, and your vehicle may not be as visible to the other cars on the road. Check to make sure they’re working regularly and replace them immediately if they are burnt out.
Pack your emergency car kit
During an extremely cold snap, the chances of a breakdown increase, and you want to be fully prepared. Pack an emergency car kit so you know that if you’re stuck in your vehicle for a lengthy period, you can stay warm and be safe.
A basic emergency car kit should contain:
- Snacks that won’t spoil such as granola or energy bars
- Water in plastic bottles that won’t break if the water freezes (replace them every six months)
- A blanket
- Warm clothing and boots and extra gloves
- A bright coloured jacket in case you need to leave the vehicle
- First aid kit with a seatbelt cutter
- Scraper and snowbrush
- A candle in a deep can and matches
- A wind-up flashlight
- A whistle (in case you need to attract attention)
- Pylons or flares to warn oncoming traffic
- Sand, salt or cat litter to use as traction under your tires if you get stuck
- Antifreeze and windshield washer fluid
- Tow rope
- Jumper cables
- Fire extinguisher
Winter is here. With a few precautionary measures and some tips on safe winter driving, you and your vehicle will be ready to weather the storm.