4 Ways to Prep Your Vehicle for Winter

  • Jan 9, 2019
  • Resources & Tips

It’s the dreaded sound of the ignition failing to start after braving the cold to your car in the morning. It’s skidding on black ice as you fight to regain control of the wheel. Worse yet, it’s breaking down on the side of the road at night, with no supplies and a snowstorm approaching. Whether we like it or not, winter has arrived. And while winter weather can be cold and inconvenient, it can also be very dangerous; failure to winterize your vehicle can have detrimental consequences. That’s exactly why we’re highlighting the top four ways you can prepare your vehicle for the season. Brrr-illiant!

4. Be Proactive About Maintenance

Winter car maintenance should include an oil change, antifreeze levels checked, thicker winter wiper blades, and wiper blade fluid fill-up

It’s important to service your vehicle regularly to keep it running in optimal condition. But similar to how your dry skin requires more attention during the winter months, your vehicle needs additional maintenance for the season too. Ideally, you should be proactive instead of reactive; don’t wait for the snow to prompt your next service. While your oil is changed, be sure to have your antifreeze levels checked as well. And since ice has a tendency to collect on all-season wiper blades, it’s advisable to switch to thicker grade winter wipers that resist ice build-up. When the snow melts, things can get pretty dirty. To be safe, you’ll need to keep your windshield clean; always make sure to have your wiper fluid refilled.

3. Get a Mechanical Inspection

As important as regular servicing is, intermittently, your vehicle requires a more involved mechanical inspection of its parts. First and foremost, your battery should be checked for optimum working condition. When temperatures dip below freezing, a battery response rate can slow or fail to function entirely. A dead battery can present a lot of problems, including the inability for you to warm up in the cold. In addition to your battery, have your belts and hoses checked, as well as your brakes. Ice and sleet can make for slippery roads and worn-down brakes can end up costing you big bucks or worse; you’ll want to have your brakes checked or replaced. It’s also a great idea (if applicable) to have your four-wheel drive inspected for peak performance.

Having a car manually inspected will keep you from being stranded

2. Have an Emergency Kit

A match box such as this should be a part of every car's emergency kit

It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. It’s in your best interest to assemble or purchase an emergency preparedness kit for your vehicle. Many store-bought kits come with useful tools and necessities, but you can easily make your own. Some important supplies to include are non-perishable foods, water, warm clothes, a flashlight with extra batteries, matches, flares, a first aid kit, jumper cables, an ice scraper, salt or gravel, a shovel and antifreeze. You never know how long you may have to wait for help to arrive in a storm, so preparation is your best defence.

1. Check Your Tires

Your likelihood of safe navigation in winter weather is heavily dependent upon the quality of your tires. While all-weather tires provide some traction, it’s always best to have a set of winter tires for your vehicle. Winter tires are specially designed to enhance grip and hug the road in cold conditions. They can be the difference between making it home for Christmas dinner and spending yuletide waiting for a tow truck roadside. If you do invest in winter tires, make sure they’re installed early enough in the season, before the brunt of the bad weather hits. It’s better to have them on a little early than when the roads get treacherous. Be sure to have your all-season tires maintained as well; proper tire pressure (including your spare) can help you avoid unfortunate situations.

Having proper tires with good tread are an absolute must for winter driving

You can’t predict or change mother nature’s plans, but you can prepare your vehicle for them. By servicing your vehicle, having it inspected, packing an emergency kit and using winter tires, you’ll minimize your chances of an unfavourable situation. Just like a snowflake, your vehicle can be unique and complex. Thankfully, Warrenton Auto has all your automobile needs covered. From mechanical and electrical repairs, collision repair and body work, to glass replacement and repair, Warrenton Auto is your one-stop-shop for vehicle winterization and more. Stay safe, stay warm and drive carefully!