- October 17, 2018
- By Southern Autobody
- In blog
Tips For Getting Your Vehicle Winter Ready
Winter is coming and in some parts of Alberta, we have already seen the temperatures dip and the snowfall, which means it is time to get your vehicle ready for winter!
With winter come the sub-freezing temperatures, snow, and ice, and while the elements can be inconvenient for people, they can wreak absolute havoc on your vehicle.
It is incredibly important to prep your vehicle for winter as having it fail might leave you stranded in the cold, or worse yet cause a major accident.
In order to ensure that you and your vehicle make it through the winter here are a few pro tips to get your vehicle ready for winter:
Check Your Battery
The extreme cold that we see in Alberta can wreak havoc on your vehicle’s battery and it is always a good idea to make sure your battery is in good condition before the cold weather hits.
Southern Auto Body recommends having your battery professionally tested in order to ensure it is ready to get you through the winter. It is also important to inspect your cables and cable connections are clean, in good condition, secure and free of corrosion.
Change Your Tires
Winter driving in Alberta can be treacherous on the best of days, so it is important to have a good set of tires to help stay safe.
Southern Auto Body always recommends that you should have winter tires, not simply all-season or all-weather tires. Winter tires are specifically designed for snow and ice and are made with different compounds to ensure they provide maximum traction even when the temperatures dip.
Change Your Oil
You should always change your oil before the cold weather hits to ensure your vehicle doesn’t have to work too hard to push thick oil through its engine. The colder it gets the longer it takes for oil to flow smoothly through the engine, lubricating critical components and keeping it safe.
We recommend an oil change with the correct viscosity (lighter, thinner oil for the cold months) before the weather changes to ensure your engine is properly lubricated during cold startups.
While your vehicle is in for an oil change it is also a good idea to have your other fluids checked, and certain ones (like windshield wiper fluid) changed in preparation for the cold weather.
Change Your Wiper Blades
Good visibility is always important but can be hard to come by when snow or slush are covering your windshield. Southern Auto Body suggests that you buy and install new winter windshield wiper blades to prepare for the inevitable snow, slush, and ice build-up.
As mentioned above, it is also important to ensure that you aren’t caught with the wrong windshield wiper fluid. Make sure you change out that summer fluid with deicing windshield washer fluid rated for the weather (-40 is a common winter rating to look for).
Stock A Cold-Weather Vehicle Emergency Kit
Sometimes, no matter how cautious you are, bad weather, bad drivers, or freak accidents can cause you to be stranded in your vehicle. If this happens, you need to be prepared.
At Southern Auto Body we recommend preparing a cold-weather emergency kit for your vehicle that contains items like gloves, a blanket and/or sleeping bag, hand warmers, a candle with matches, a first aid kit, a shovel, ice scraper, sand or kitty litter for traction, and some food (MRE’s or granola bars etc.).
The above-mentioned items are only a start and we recommend researching and creating your own customized cold-weather emergency kit based on where you live and where you are traveling.
Check Your Brakes
Road conditions in the winter months often require extra time and care when preparing to stop. Snow, slush, and ice make for slippery surfaces and stopping times can increase drastically in comparison to stopping on dry pavement.
In addition to checking and/or changing your tires, it is important to check your brake system and ensure that your brake pads, rotors, and fluid are all within manufacturers specifications.
Check Your Heat And Defrost
Before the weather changes too drastically it is always a good idea to test your heat and defrost systems. If you’re unsure whether or not things are getting as warm as they should, consider having the system inspected by a professional to ensure proper operation.
We also recommend cleaning or replacing your air filters to ensure that your heating system is running as efficiently as possible.
Keep Your Gas Tank Above Half
It may seem silly, but keeping your gas tank more than half-full is an important step in preventing your fuel lines from freezing. Furthermore, if you become stranded you want to ensure you are able to keep warm.
Pick The Right Vehicle
Not all vehicles are made equal, especially when it comes to winter driving. It is a fact that some vehicles will inherently make better winter vehicles than others, and this is an important point to consider.
For example, you may be under the impression that All Wheel Drive may help in winter weather – and you would be right! An SUV will make a better winter vehicle than a Rear Wheel Drive sports car.
Sometimes, you may need a ‘winter beater’ in addition to your safe, responsible driving and common sense to make it through the winter without incident.
Get Home Safe
Snow, ice, and the cold temperatures all drastically change the nature of driving in Alberta. During the long winter months, these elements require that you make changes to both the inside and outside of your vehicle. Doing so will help to ensure that you and your passengers remain safe during a season where the roads are notoriously dangerous.
Before you get out on the slippery roads this winter, reach out to your local shop and ensure you get your vehicle ready for winter. If you have any questions about the article above or would like to book an appointment please feel free to contact us anytime. We are always happy to respond to any questions you may have.