In most areas of Canada, the winter season can significantly affect driving conditions, leaving you more prone to accidents. During the winter, even more so than other times of the year, it’s important to focus on defensive driving to protect yourself and keep your family safe and sound. Driving safely also helps keep your insurance rates down, while minimizing wear and tear on your vehicle. A big part of staying safe in the winter is making sure that your car is adequately prepared to handle whatever driving conditions you may face. Here are some steps you can take to prepare your vehicle and give yourself the best chance of staying safe over the winter months.
1. Make sure you have the right oil for your car.
Check your owner’s manual for the right oil for your specific vehicle, but in general oil like 5W30 works better in cold weather conditions than thicker 10W30 or 10W40. The thinner the oil, the more easily it circulates to lubricate your engine in colder temperatures.
2. Make sure your battery is in good condition.
3. Check your tire pressure.
Due to the colder air, your tire pressure tends to drop a little bit in the winter. Keeping your tires at the manufacturer’s recommended pressure makes your car easier to handle, making you safer on the roads and will even save you money by improving fuel economy! Most tires lose one pound per square inch for every 5 C drop in temperature, making it critical to regularly check pressure in winter. An improperly inflated tire can cause excessive wear on your tire’s tread, reduces traction for your car, and uses more gas. You can find the right tire pressure (psi) for your car in the driver-side door jamb, on a sticker in your glove compartment, or in the owner’s manual.
4. Make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition.
Faulty windshield wipers can significantly impair your ability to see in wet weather conditions. If your wipers are bent, twisted or simply don’t clear your windshield adequately, then replace them. The rubber on winter blades is designed for extreme weather conditions and will help protect your windshield against ice, sleet, and snow so you can see the road clearly.
Installing wiper blades is a snap to do, too.
5. Consider snow tires.
If your area usually gets a significant amount of snow, it may be worth getting snow tires for your car during the winter months. Snow tires have deeper grooves that provide significantly more traction than all season tires, making them capable of stopping your car as much as 40% faster than all season tires. In addition, snow tires are made of a different type of rubber which allows them to maintain their flexibility even in very cold conditions. You’ll feel safer and more confident in your ability to adequately control your car, no matter what happens on the roads! Winter tires give a better grip and provide up to 50 percent better traction on cold, wet, icy, or frosty roads. Always check your owner’s manual for manufacturer recommendations and make sure you use a set of four identical tires.
6. Make sure your antifreeze mixture is correct.
Your coolant should be a 50-50 combination of antifreeze and water. If you’re unsure, you can buy an inexpensive antifreeze tester at most auto part stores. Having less than 50% antifreeze can leave your engine vulnerable to freezing up.
7. Make sure you keep an emergency kit in your car at all times.
A well stocked emergency kit can be a lifesaver if you find yourself stranded on a highway in the middle of nowhere. A proper winter emergency kit for your vehicle includes:
8. Keep your gas tank as full as possible.
Not only does this prevent you from running out of gas and being stranded, it also lowers the chance that your gas lines will freeze up due to water vapours and condensation in very cold weather.
9. Take your car in for a tune up prior to the first snow fall.
Keeping your car well maintained is a good idea at any time, but it’s especially important during the winter when driving conditions are poor and you may be taking lengthy trips for the holidays. Keeping your car in peak condition lowers your chances of getting stranded and gives you the peace of mind to know you’re prepared.
10. Have your brakes checked.
Our service includes but not limited to recommending maintenance and repairs to keep you and your car safe -you decide if you want to go ahead.
At National Tire Wholesale, you're in the driver's seat. Our technicians only recommend maintenance and repairs to keep you and your car safe.
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