Car Care:    Tips , Tricks and Maintenance

Prepare Your Car For Winter Driving  In Canada


Is your vehicle prepared for winter?

Any system that was showing weakness in the summer will in all likelihood fail in the cold of winter. Although experiencing a breakdown in the summer can be frustrating -
a breakdown in the winter can be dangerous and even deadly depending on where and when your car breaks down. By checking out the basic winter checklist below you'll help your car to make it through another tough winter season.
 Winter Driving Tips and Tricks

Things to examine on your vehicle before the winter driving season arrives:

Windshield washer fluid made for temps below freezing: Fill up your reservoir to the top and flush out the old fluid by running the wiper / sprayer; especially if you have a rear wiper / washer that gets its fluid from a long hose coming from the front reservoir.

Engine antifreeze / cooling system: Not only should it be checked for its anti-freeze capability but you should also check your owner's manual to see if it is scheduled for a total flush and replacement. Don't attempt to economize here, there's too much at stake to not replace the fluid on schedule.

Check your tires: The cold weather will cause your tires to lose air pressure.  Fill them to the recommended air pressure and check the tread while you're there. Make sure to check your spare tire for correct air pressure when you inspect your tires.

Check your lights: Check that the primary running lights, side lights, brake lights, reverse lights, turn signals, high beams, and hazard lights are functional. You'll need to see and be seen during the dark winter months.

Check the battery: If your battery isn't up to snuff or your charging system is marginal, the cold winter months will likely cause them to fail at the worst time. A mechanic can do simple tests to check both systems if you're uncertain of their condition.

Winter windshield wiper blades: These are essentially a wiper blade with a rubber boot covering the flexible joints in the blade. Winter slush and ice can clog the flexible joints of the wiper and leave portions of the windshield untouched. Windshield wiper blades only take a minute to replace so it's worth the time and investment.

Check your heater and defrosters: Before the truly frigid weather takes hold, be sure to test the heater, windshield defroster and the rear window defroster. Note: Check the main heater only after the car has warmed up, most cars will let the engine warm up before allowing coolant / anti-freeze into the heater core in your car interior.

Have your braking system checked: If your brakes are worn or were pulling to one side in the summer you'll want to make sure they're in peak condition for the snow and slush you're about to encounter this winter.

Check all you're fluid levels: Most modern car's fluid reservoirs are clearly marked and the owner's manual will help you perform these simple checks.

Check your serpentine belt and its tensioner: If you're unsure of how to do this, there are sites on the net to help you out, otherwise an auto-mechanic can do this simple test for you. By learning how to do it yourself, it will become an important part of your under-hood checkups.

Things to keep in your automobile for winter driving:

Cell Phone, fully charged (preferably with Global Positioning System GPS capability)
First aid kit
A shovel
Jumper cables
Road flares
Flash light and spare batteries
Common hand tools
Local road map
Calories, such as chocolate bars, nuts and dried fruit
Candles for us outside the car
Multitool type knife
Waterproof matches and candle and a tin can to melt snow for drinking water
Tire chains / traction mats
Local road map
Bottled drinking water


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