Winterizing Your Vehicle for Safety and Performance
October 24, 2019
In many parts of British Columbia, the change in season will soon be upon on us, and depending on where you live, that may involve heavy rain, or snow and ice – and months of winter driving conditions. As a result, now is the best time to get your vehicle ship shape for the long winter months to come, by getting it inspected and having any preventative maintenance performed.
It’s easy to procrastinate until the first snowfall, but don’t keep putting it off. The cold weather can make existing problems worse and cost you more money down the road. So whether you are savvy enough to do the car maintenance yourself on an older vehicle or book an appointment at a new car dealership, there are several areas you should pay attention to:
Battery: Dropping temperatures and increased accessory use (defrosters, heat, windshield wipers) can put a strain on your battery. Check for any mineral or other deposit build-up around the terminals, which can be cleaned away with a brush.
Heat System: Test your heat system, your front and rear window defrost because these don’t get a lot of use during the summer months.
Check the Oil: A general rule of thumb is that your oil should be changed every 3,000 miles – but your auto service provider can tell you which works best for your vehicle’s make, model and mileage.
Fluids and Belts: Check your antifreeze/coolant, wiper fluid, power steering fluid and transmission fluid. Also have an auto technician check all belts and the engine’s timing.
Tires: if you are driving at higher elevations, make sure your vehicle is equipped with winter tires – and have your tires checked for wear patterns as well as tread. Worn tires are unsafe to drive on, especially during the winter months.
Filters. A dirty air filter can decrease fuel economy and performance. Replacing a cabin air filter, while not directly impacting your vehicle’s performance, can help create a more comfortable environment for your passengers.
Lights and Visuals: Makes sure all your lights are working, including turn signals front and back, headlamps and taillights, brake and back up lights and high beams.
Wipers: Fall is an excellent time to change your wipers to ensure you are able clear heavy rain, show or slush from your windshield
Undercoating is an important consideration to protect critical components from rust and corrosion. This is especially important for electric vehicles, to protect electrical wiring and battery pack, among other components. There are also other important reminders, including the repair of any small crack or chip in your windshield before it gets any worse. Keep a set of gloves, a snow bush and ice scraper in your call at all times. And, review your emergency roadside kit to ensure its well-stocked with necessities should you ever run into problems while on the road.
By preparing your car for the winter months, you can be confident that your vehicle is ready for the icy and slippery driving conditions and cold temperatures that are typically associated with the season.
Just one final note: trick or treaters will be out in force next week so please use extreme caution when driving – and make Halloween an enjoyable, safe night for all.
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Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at email@example.com
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