As we have already had a major winter wallop of snow in Calgary, we each got a crash course in remembering how to drive in hazardous conditions. But while we might feel slightly prepared for winter driving, it’s also important to prepare our vehicles for the winter months as well. Vehicles are valuable commodities that are generally very reliable, but they do require regular upkeep in order to make sure they run in all kinds of weather. Nobody wants to be stuck at the side of the road waiting for a tow truck in frigid temperatures. Be sure to winterize your vehicle to stay as safe as possible for the next few months.
Keep your car up to the challenge of winter roads by taking the following preventative measures.
Refilling all Fluids
Coolant is just as important in cold weather as it is in warm. It helps to keep your engine from freezing up, and also helps stave off corrosion. In the winter you will want to choose a product that does its job while also not damaging your cooling system. Antifreeze must be filled with the proper ratio of antifreeze to water. Check your owner’s manual for the correct mixture, or, better yet, have a professional perform this job for you.
Many also recommend switching to an engine oil with a lower “W” rating in the winter, such as a 5W, in fact, the “W” actually stands for winter! A lower “W” rating means lower viscosity, meaning the oil will flow better in temperatures below zero. Some synthetic oils are specially formulated for colder weather as well.
And finally, stock up on windshield washer fluid that is resistant to freezing, and keep some in your trunk at all times. Having your windshield’s cracks and dings repaired will also stop things from getting worse and keep your vehicle’s integrity intact in the event of an accident.
Change Your Filters
Changing your engine air and cabin air filters before the winter is wise as well. Keeping both fresh helps improve mileage and extends the life of your engine. A clean engine air filter will catch debris before it can disseminate under your hood, and a clean cabin air filter can help your heating work better and keep your vehicle’s cabin free of dust and fragments of garbage.
Have Your Winter Tires Installed
This is a chore many of us schedule at the last possible moment, and then we end up waiting several extra days for an appointment. Not only is this annoying, but switching your tires is one of the best ways to winterize your vehicle before the snow stays permanently on the ground. Many don’t realize that winter tires actually start providing value even before the roads are covered with ice. They grip far better when temperatures are regularly below seven degrees Celsius, which is already happening in Calgary. Made of softer, more pliable grades of rubber, winter tires don’t become as rigid in sub-zero temperatures. This, in turn, helps them remain responsive during steering, maneuvering, and braking. Winter tires are also slightly narrower than your regular all-season tires. The narrower the tire, the greater the pressure it puts on the pavement when you’re driving. Thus, narrower winter tires will push away greater amounts of water, ice, and snow.
Additionally, during the winter you should check your tire pressure regularly. Air contracts in very cold temperatures, which can cause tires to deflate. Properly inflated tires assist with handling, gas mileage, and stopping and starting.
Check Your Battery
Cold weather reduces the cranking power of unhealthy batteries, and can even cause them to lose their charge entirely. Use a gauge to see if your battery is staying fully charged (or have your mechanic do this for you), and also have a look to see if the fluid level is where it should be. As a general rule, batteries over four years old should be replaced.
Pack Your Car With a Roadside Survival Kit
Even if you take every precaution to winterize your vehicle, the unexpected can still happen. It’s essential to be prepared for every eventuality. Roadside survival kits can save lives. We highly recommend having a fully stocked emergency kit on hand for those times when help is not nearby.
Great Service and Low Rates from Lane’s Insurance
If you’re looking for low rates on car insurance in Alberta, trust Lane’s Insurance to deliver excellent value, friendly service and helpful advice that always serves your best interests. Lane’s Insurance is a brokerage, and that means their representatives work for you, not for the insurance companies. You’re guaranteed the best coverage on the market for the most competitive rates you’ll find anywhere, along with value-added service and outstanding claims support.