Eight Tips to Help Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter

Senior man pouring Antifreeze windshield washer liquid during winter snow storm.

We’ve provided tips on how to prepare your home for winter , now it’s time to do the same for your car. Here are eight simple tips to winter-ready your vehicle, to help ensure you’re not left out in the cold.

  1. Snow tires – If you’re driving during the winter, install winter tires on your vehicle. All-season tires and all-weather tires are not going to cut it. All-weather tires, though able to channel water while still gripping to the snow, are better than all-season tires. However, it’s recommended to apply the appropriate tires for the season to avoid any prolonged wear and tear – as well as to help keep you safe on the road.
  2. Check your fluids – With extreme winter, comes extreme cold; and though your car is able to withstand chilly temperatures, it’s vital that your vehicle has enough fluids to keep it operating. To prevent moisture from freezing the gas line, keep your gas tank as full as possible during the winter months. The change in temperature can also affect your oil, so be sure to schedule an appointment to have your oil changed, and request an inspection of your coolant system to ensure it’s working properly and there are no cracked hoses or leaks. However be careful where you store your windshield fluid as it is flammable.
  3. Winter windshield wipers – Did you know that there are windshield wipers specific for winter? When you have your winter tires installed, change to winter wipers at the same time. These wipers come specially equipped with rubber that resists ice from collecting within the blades and helps keep your windshield clear. When spring arrives, be sure to change from the winter blades back to your normal blades – as the winter blades are a lot heavier. Also, be sure to check for signs that you need new windshield wipers.
  4. Check your tire pressure – According to Transport Canada, tires lose pressure as the season gets colder (about 7 kPa or 1 psi for every 5°C drop in temperature). So check your tire pressure regularly to ensure that it is suitable to drive.
  5. Beat the freeze – CARFAX Canada suggests a handy way to prevent frozen locks on doors. The recommendation is to add a bit of lubricant ahead of time to prevent car locks from freezing over. You can also apply a coating to the weather stripping located on the inside of your vehicle’s doors to help prevent the seals from sticking together.
  6. Maintain the paintjob – The combination of rain, snow, dirt and salt can dull the lustre of the paintjob on your car. So, keep the exterior clean. CarMax recommends waxing your car – as a layer of wax after a car wash will help liquids roll off the car.
  7. Equip your car with a winter emergency kit – Winter driving can be unpredictable, so be sure to equip your car with a winter emergency kit to help safeguard you from the unexpected. Items include, but aren’t limited to, warm clothing, non-perishable food items, water, windshield wiper fluids, snow brush, blanket, shovel, etc.
  8. Scheduled maintenance – Above all else, be sure to schedule your vehicle’s maintenance appointment. A licenced, professional mechanic will be able to evaluate your vehicle’s health and inform you of any issues to address or keep in mind as you travel this winter. CARFAX created a helpful guide for monthly checkups on your car.

By winterizing your vehicle, you help to ensure that your vehicle is better equipped to handle a Canadian winter.

Did we miss anything? Feel free to leave a comment with some of your recommended tips for getting your vehicle ready for winter.

Disclaimer: This information has been provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as providing legal or insurance advice.