Is Your Vehicle Winter-Ready? Our Top 5 Tips To Prepare Your Car For Winter

Buying Tips & Tricks December 17, 2021

Despite the warmer temperatures that Western Canada has experienced over the last couple of months, winter has finally set in. The lack of snow last month made it easy for many to procrastinate and put off essential winter tasks like changing to winter tires. But with the holidays around the corner, there is no better time than now to review your vehicle’s maintenance and winterize your car for the coming months.

1. Change your tires

Get your car some winter boots! All-season tires are efficient, but it’s definitely worth it to invest in a good set of winter tires. Winter tires have deeper treads and more grooves than the standard all-seasons (RNR Tire Express, 2020), providing more traction and grip. Plus, all-seasons are mainly effective when the temperature is above 7° Celsius. With our chilly Canadian winters, the temperature often drops below freezing, making all-season tires ineffective as their rubber compound hardens and severely decreases traction (Road Show, 2019). If you haven’t swapped your tires yet, KalTire is currently offering $25 off winter tire changes. To read more about how winter tires trump all-seasons, check out our blog here: Benefits of Winter Tires.

2. Check the battery

Use a battery level indicator and replace your vehicle’s battery if needed. There’s nothing more inconvenient than having to boost your car every other snowy morning. Our favorite battery voltmeter is easy to use - just plug it into your car’s cigarette lighter. With the vehicle off, a full charge should be between 12.2 to 12.6 volts. If it reads below 12.2 volts, you should replace your battery. With the engine running, your battery should be between 14 to 14.5 volts. Anything lower indicates a weak battery (JD Power, 2020). As well, don’t forget to plug in your vehicle overnight if it’s really chilly. If you’re working from home, start your car every couple of days. For more tips on how to properly maintain your car battery, read our blog: Proper Battery Care For Winter Weather

3. Check wiper blades

Wiper blades are sometimes an afterthought when it comes to vehicle maintenance, but streaky, torn blades won’t help you during white-out conditions. You can decide between conventional, beam, or hybrid wipers. Conventional blades have an exposed metal frame, whereas beam blades have a more flexible frame and hybrid wipers combine the best of the two (Driving, 2017). We prefer hybrid wipers for the winter as its concealed frame provides rigidity and stability, but its curvature mimics the clean and effortless wipe of a beam blade. Shop Michelin wiper blades online and have them delivered before the next snowfall!

4. Visit your nearest auto shop and top up fluids

Fill up any fluids that are running low and stay on top of your vehicle’s regular maintenance schedule and ensure that regular oil changes are being consistently performed. If you already changed your oil in the fall, it doesn’t hurt to have your vehicle inspected for any present issues or bring it in for any automotive problems that you have been putting off. With the expenses of the holidays, an unexpected auto repair can feel a little heavy on the wallet. Get a quick tune-up at your nearest Canadian Tire or book an oil change there between December 2nd-23rd and save up to $20 off if you sign up to receive promotional texts.

5. Pack a winter essentials kit

We love to be prepared! Pack a vehicle winter emergency kit in case you are ever stranded, in a collision, out of gas, or stuck in some heavy snow.

Our top emergency items are:

  • Mini shovel 
  • Flashlight
  • Battery voltmeter
  • Extra wiper fluid or antifreeze
  • Tire pump or inflator 
  • Jumper cables
  • Extra gloves, coat, toque or hat, and a blanket
  • All-in-one safety tool or mini tools (screwdriver, hammer, ratchet, etc)
  • Granola bar 
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Wheel lock key for tires
  • Spare phone charger

You can opt to build your own kit or choose from an array of pre-made safety kits at your local Canadian Tire. CAA Manitoba also has kits available for purchase.

It can seem tedious and time-consuming, but ensuring your car is fully prepared for snowy conditions is fundamental. Be reassured and confident knowing that your vehicle is ready to take on any winter situation that may present itself unexpectedly. Unsure about your defensive driving skills or if you can handle our icy roads? Read our past blog here to help you maneuver winter driving conditions: Top 5 Winter Driving Tips 

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