Although fall has only technically just begun – it is never too early to start thinking about how you can be prepared for various aspects of the Winter
While a little ‘battening down the hatches’ so to speak is likely in order for your home – this is also just as true for your vehicle. Just as you would shop for winter clothing items to protect your body from the cold, you can also do so to make sure your vehicle is in the best condition possible to keep up with the colder temperatures and oh so frequently – seen ice-capped roadways across Canada. Here are ways to prepare your car for the winter – starting now.
#1: Perform Car Maintenance
There are some simple car maintenance tasks you can perform on your own that are a good way to start off on the right foot with your weather vehicle preparation. Some of the chief car parts you can monitor on your should include the wipers, after all they are likely to be used frequently this the fall and winter. Along with the wipers you will want to assess the wiper fluid. You can look to change the current fluid to a brand that includes antifreeze to help them manage in the very cold weather.
As the winter approaches you can also monitor the brake and oil fluids to make sure they are at the right levels. Additionally, as the temperatures dip below zero, you should aim to always have your gas tank filled up above 1/4 of a tank or higher so that gas line does not freeze up.
#2: Schedule an Inspection
Unless you have an extensive background in cars maintenance, it may be a good idea to have certain vehicle elements inspected by a professional. Various parts that should be included in this weather-pending inspection are likely to involve, the battery, the brakes & the brake lines, tires and the radiator.
Not only will you want to ensure your brakes, battery and tires are up to the task, making sure your heat, including window defroster is working properly when you need it most is also vital to your upcoming cold weather driving needs. Ultimately, the mechanic will be able to oversee and identify everything that requires immediate servicing and is crucial to winter driving.
#3: Prep Your Vehicle’s Shelter
Another area where a little preparation can help you get your car ready for winter is to decide where you will be parking your car during the winter. If the answer is the same as it would be for all of the seasons – and if this answer is outside – then you may want to consider making some adjustments to your parking and driving habits. For one, you can opt for a cover to keep the snow an cold off the vehicle. If this is not an option, then being prepared with a quality snow and ice brush/scrapper and leaving a bit of extra time when you go out to drive is key. Having a remote starter to pre-heat the car prior to going outside.
If parking below an overhang or make-shift garage is a possibility, then this can help prevent the car from being covered in snow when you go out each time. Either way giving some thought to your surroundings and where you will be parking your vehicle during winter can help you prepare for all potential outcomes as much as possible. Best case scenario you can park in a garage that offers more warmth and protection for your car over the long winter months.
#4: Using Snow Tires or Chains
As mentioned, tires are also key to having a safe winter driving experience. Even with an all wheel drive or 4X4 vehicle at your disposal – having inappropriate tires can mean that winter can present an uneasy and even dangerous road ahead for you. While some vehicles will come with tires strong enough to withstand the demands of all 4 seasons, often times you will need to think about having winter tires to help in the deep snow and on slippery roads. Chains can also be another option for your existing tires and can help your vehicle navigate conditions that especially involve rising snow levels.
This can be something you also discuss when you go for your pre-winter vehicle inspection and there you can inquire about which is the best option for you and your vehicle. Ultimately however, having inadequate tires during the winter can mean more accidents and unsafe circumstances can occur – so it maybe well worth the added cost to invest in another set of tires.
#5: Emergency Kit
Lastly, you will want to be sure to put together an emergency kit to have in your vehicle at all times during the winter. While some items may be necessary all year round- there are definitely certain tools that should find a home in your kit by the time the temperatures drop. Some of these items can include, flares, blankets & warm clothing such as an extra hat, gloves, and winter coat. A flashlight with batteries and also a first aid kit will also serve a purpose in the event you are stranded on the side of the road.
Additionally, a good shovel and bags of kitty litter can also help you if it biomes necessary to melt the ice and to shovel your way out of a particular situation. Bottled water and non-perishable food items can also help sustain you if you have to wait it out in the car until further assistance arrives.
Here is a great emergency car kit checklist put together by the Government of Canada: http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/kts/cr-kt-en.aspx As a car owner, you will have many responsibilities – and prepping your vehicle for the long stretch of winter ahead is likely to be on the top of that list. Another aspect of car ownership might be to look for vehicle’s financing and at Canada Drives, we are here to help with just that. In the event you have bad credit and are worried you either won’t be able to secure a car loan or perhaps that you won’t be able to maintain the payments, we want to be of service to you to make sure you are set up for success and ultimately have less stress associated with this experience. How can we help? We will facilitate a car loan that is suited to your personal needs and financial situation. After assisting you to identify what size of loan you can afford, we will then be able to connect you with a lender who can provide you with a reasonable car loan agreement. At the same time, you will also be able to start re-building your credit score as you continue to make regular and affordable loan payments over time. Want to reduce your stress and improve your safety this Winter? Consider taking these 5 steps above to winterize your vehicle as it can really make a world of difference and help ensure you get to and from all of life's important destinations minus the worry and any unwanted winter interruptions.