1. WINTER TIRES
When the temperature drops below 7⁰C, winter tires perform the best. Although, all season tires marked as M+S (Mud & Snow) can legally be used in winter in most provinces, winter tires are specifically made for harsh winter conditions, have more traction, and will stop quicker in an emergency. In addition, ensure the air pressure is at recommended levels. Check air pressure on a monthly basis and adjust as required.
2. OIL CHANGE
If you have not had an oil change done, now is the time to do so! There are specific oil types recommended for winter conditions because they have less viscosity (thinner) and will help the engine work more efficiently.
3. BATTERY CHECK
Have your battery tested and ensure it has enough power to start your engine on a frigid -35⁰C morning.
Additionally, check the cable connections, remove corrosion, and tighten to ensure good contact.
4. WINDSHIELD WIPER BLADES
Wiper blades break down over time and should be regularly examined for wear and tear. There are also wiper blades specifically designed for handling snow, ice, and other stresses of the winter months.
5. WASHER FLUID
If you are in the habit of using water as your windshield washer during the summer months, beware! For winter, you need a washer fluid that can withstand extreme cold conditions, ideally down to -40⁰C.
6. BLOCK HEATER
Check that your car’s block heater is working before winter comes. If you park within a well-insulated or heated garage, plugging in your car may not be required. However, outside parking in temperatures below -15⁰C for extended periods require that you warm up your car engine for a few hours. This will ensure the engine starts up and warms up faster. Plug in the car for about 4 hours before starting up. A block heater timer can help you save on the amount of electricity used.
7. COOLANT CHECK
Ensure the coolant in your car is at appropriate levels and in good condition.
8. CAR FLOOR MATS
Rubber mats designed for your car’s make and model can help to hold the snow that you transfer into your car and which melts when the car is in use. They are easy to clean up and should be cleaned/drained often.
9. GENERAL TUNE-UP
Fall is a good time to tune-up your car in general. Check the brakes, belts, filters, ignition system, heater/defrosting systems, lights, etc.
10. EMERGENCY KIT
Emergencies happen! Always be prepared for getting stuck in a snow storm or your car breaking down when you are out in the middle of nowhere. Carry an emergency kit stocked with first aid supplies, flash light, thick blanket, booster cables, ice scraper, small shovel, snow brush, emergency reflectors, candles, matches/lighter, etc. & a fully charged cell phone of course...