Tips for Winterizing your Car

Winter driving conditions can be dangerous due to snow and ice on the roads. Preparing for winter driving is important, but so is having your car ready for the challenge. Before the winter season begins, ensure your vehicle is suitable for winter road conditions by following the recommendations below.

1. HAVE YOUR CAR SERVICED FOR WINTER CONDITIONS

Get your vehicle ready for the challenges winter can bring, before the harsh winter conditions.

Batteries – Battery performance decreases as temperatures drop. This means that it takes more energy to start your car in winter. If your battery is already struggling, the risk of running out of battery increases. For optimum winter performance, an auto detailer recommends he install a 600 CCA or higher battery.

Cooling System – It is recommended to maintain an antifreeze-to-water ratio of 50/50 to 70/30. Ask your technician what antifreeze to use on your vehicle and the proper coolant-to-water ratio to prevent corrosion and potential freezing.

Brakes – Cold weather doesn’t necessarily negatively affect brakes, but a thorough inspection can ensure the best performance when driving in winter.

Belts, hoses, spark plugs, wires, and cables

can break any time of the year, but if they break in the winter, they can leave you stranded in very cold conditions.

2. SWITCH TO WINTER TIRES

It is possible to use all-season tires in winter conditions, but they will not give you the maximum performance you need in that environment.

If you live in an area with extremely cold winter temperatures, we recommend that you equip your vehicle with snow tires to insulate your vehicle. When temperatures constantly fluctuate around freezing, the rubber compound in non-snow tires hardens, reducing the tires’ grip on the road. Winter tires use special compounds designed to withstand cold hardening and provide excellent traction on ice, snow, slush and even dry roads.

If you live in an area that doesn’t typically experience harsh winters, all-season tires are fine. However, if you live in an area with harsh winters or go to such places on a regular basis, winter tires are the safest choice.

3. MAINTAIN TIRE PRESSURE

For every 10° change in ambient temperature, there can be an increase or decrease of 1 PSI. This means you should check your tire pressure more regularly during the winter and top up your tires if necessary. The correct tire pressure can be found on the tire label on the driver’s side door jamb or in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

4. CHECK FOR CHANGING TEMPERATURES THAT COULD AFFECT TRACTION

Before long winter drives, check if the temperature can change while driving. Temperature changes can affect both traction and drivability if there are sudden changes that you are not prepared for. For example, riding in 0° weather is very different from riding in 32° weather. 0° provides better traction than 32° because roads are generally slippery in warmer winter temperatures.

5. INSTALL WINTER WIPERS

These come equipped with rubber that keeps ice from collecting on the blades. Just be sure to remove them when spring rolls around. As winter wipers are heavier than regular ones, keeping them on all the time increases the load on the wiper motor.

6. KEEP WASHER FLUID FULL

Change your windshield wiper fluid frequently. A snowstorm can deplete much of this fluid, so refill your washer fluid reservoir regularly with winter wiper fluid. Add a bottle of washer fluid antifreeze. You can find it at most auto parts stores.

7. PACK A WINTER SAFETY KIT

Before embarking on your trip, keep common tools and supplies in your car for emergencies. Use this infographic below to see what to pack before heading out to the snow.

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