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When the snow begins to fall and the salt begins to stain our roadways, vehicles, boots, and pant bottoms, it’s time to start thinking about how to winterize your vehicle.

 

To winterize your vehicle means to prepare it for all the conditions — natural and man-made — that come with cold weather places, like Ontario.

 

In this blog, we highlight seven tips that’ll not only keep you safe while driving on Ontario’s wintry roads, but will also help to protect your car from seasonal damage.

1. Winter tires

We’ve written about the importance of winter tires before, but it’s worth repeating. Not only are winter tires specifically designed to grip better on snow, sleet, and ice, installing them on your vehicle will also earn you a discount with many insurance providers.

2. Regular car washes

Getting regular car washes may seem pointless when, in a day or two, your car will be covered in snow, ice, dirt, and mud. However, regular car washes are a necessity if you want to protect your vehicle from rust.

 

“Road salt, snow, and moisture can cause rust on a car, and once rust starts it’s hard to stop,” writes Your Mechanic.

 

To maintain the value and lifespan of your vehicle, make a habit of finding a car wash on sunny, dry days in the winter.

3. Winter mats

Salt also eats away at the inside of your car and that’s why it’s important to buy rubber or hard plastic mats for your car.

 

Your local automotive store likely has a large selection of generic mats. Alternatively, you can visit websites like WeatherTech that create all-weather floor mats specifically designed for the make and model of your vehicle.

4. Regular oil changes

Regular oil changes aren’t just something to pay attention to in the winter. They are part of year-round maintenance needs for your vehicle.

 

Failure to stay on top of your vehicle’s suggested oil change schedule will void the warranty on your vehicle. For this reason, it is important to keep records of your oil changes.

5. Check your tire pressure regularly

Winter weather in Ontario can swing between plus 10 degrees one day and minus ten the next. Checking your tire pressure frequently is important in these conditions as temperature fluctuation can have a huge impact on the PSI of your tires.

 

A tire with not enough air in it can experience the following negative side effects:

  • Poor traction
  • Reduced gas mileage
  • Shorter lifespan
  • Tire failure and/or blowouts
  • Tread separation

 

Make a habit of checking your tire pressure every couple of weeks. Perhaps before you go and get your bi-monthly car wash!

6. Top up your antifreeze

Antifreeze stops your engine from overheating in the summer and from freezing in the winter. It’s not an option, it’s a necessity.

 

On the topic of antifreeze, Halfords, a retailer of car parts and car enhancements, writes, “Antifreeze is a liquid that is added to the water in an engine's cooling system in order to lower the freezing point. This means that the water will not freeze under normal cold weather conditions.”

7. Keep your washer fluid full

Few driving experiences are more dangerous than ones that involve a windshield full of salt, dirt, and grime, and no washer fluid to spray it all away.

 

Buying washer fluid designed for Ontario’s cold winters is, again, a necessity and you should always drive with an extra bottle in your trunk.

 

The winter weather increases the need to be prepared. While we all hope disaster never strikes while driving, but we must be prepared if it does. 

If you have any questions about how to winterize your vehicle, get in touch. Our vehicle experts would love to help.