Winter Auto Maintenance
Cold weather is not a friend to your vehicle and can present hidden dangers to driving conditions. Rain, snow and ice make visibility and traction difficult. Potholes appear out of nowhere to damage tires and suspension. There are also a few tips to remember to make winter easier on your vehicle.
Prepare For Cold
You’ll always want to pack extra gloves, toque, and blankets in your vehicle. Even with a roadside assistance membership, you have to be prepared for a disaster… perhaps the roads are bad in a blizzard and there is a high demand for tow trucks. Keeping a survival kit in your trunk isn’t over preparing its common sense. Just go do it now… get old gloves, hats and blankets, throw them in your car – it’s sage advice.
Changing oil and filters at the beginning of winter can be a benefit. If you live in an area where temperatures drop to below freezing, thinner oil will be better for your engine. Modern, synthetic oils give better anti-friction protection and offer long-distance driving or time intervals between oil changes. Always check your manual and fill your oil with the manufacturer oil recommendation.
Good, all season radial tires are generally fine for year-round driving where snow and ice are of little concern. If you live where the roads frequently become snow and ice covered, you should consider specialized winter tires. In Toronto, we advise drivers to use WINTER TIRES. Whatever tire you choose, keep a close watch on the treads. Old worn tires can present additional safety hazards, reduced traction and increase stopping distance. Check tire pressures at least monthly, before and long trips and be sure inflation is appropriate based on your car manual. Make sure you have all the tools and equipment to change your spare tire in the event you get stranded on the side of the highway in a blizzard. If you live in a rural area with minimal snow plow service carry a few bags of kitty litter in the trunk the extra weight will provide extra traction and can be spread over an icy area if you get stuck.
Batteries will need more power to turn over in colder temperatures. A battery should have a charge of at least 12.4 volts with larger vehicles requiring up to 24 volts. Periodically check the cables and have no cracks or breaks. The connectors should be clean and be a tight fit on the terminal posts. If you have an ageing battery that is showing performance issues then keep a battery booster in the trunk.
There are a number of fluids that keep your car or truck rolling along. Each of them should be checked regularly to be sure they are at the proper fill level.
- Brake fluid
- Transmission oil
- Power steering fluid
- Windshield fluid with antifreeze
Look at your wiper blades to be sure they are not frayed or worn. Pro-tip: spend the extra money on silicone wiper blades. They will be the last pair of wiper blades you ever buy – but for that reason, you won’t see them sold in most car part stores! Lastly, be sure the spray nozzles are clear so they can project cleaner to keep your windows dirt free.
If the exterior of your vehicle has any scratches or dings, get them taken care of before the winter. Cold weather and its moisture can accelerate any rust or corrosion. Giving your car or truck a good cleaning and polishing will help protect it from the elements. Rust proofing can be a good idea ‘IF’ you keep it up as part of your yearly winterizing otherwise the salt will devour your car.
If you have any car troubles this winter doesn’t hesitate to give us a call and we will be there to help tow or provide roadside assistance. For faster service call 647-812-1477