October 11 2013 by Bryson Forbes
Thanksgiving in Canada is just about the right time to start thinking about what you need to do to get your car ready for winter weather. It's hard to predict exactly when the "fun" weather will start but I guarantee the worst day to go get yourself prepared is the first day it snows. So beat the rush and here are five things you can do to stay safe on the roads:
1. Go get an oil change. Most people don't get an oil change enough anyway, but before the winter season hits is crucial. While they are changing your oil they will also check all your fluids, hoses, battery and tire pressure too.
2. Get winter tires. I have become a huge advocate for winter tires. Notice I don't call them "snow" tires. Yes they are wonderful in the snow, but your summer tires stop working properly at around plus seven degrees Celsius. It's not so much the snow but the cold that can affect performance. Besides it's a sound investment in your peace of mind. A good shop can likely install, mount, balance and store your tires for under $250. The tires will cost you more but depending on your driving habits, they should last you quite a while.
3. Make sure you can see. When's the last time you replaced your windshield wiper blades? They typically need to be replaced every year! That surprised me too. When you replace the blades make sure you have winter windshield washer fluid. Visibility can be tough enough in the winter you don't need to battle a frozen mess of a windshield and ineffective wipers.
4. Phone Charger. One of my least favourite things is getting the warning message that my phone is under 20% battery life. I always have a charger in my car that I can plug into but while at a golf event this summer I got a portable charger, it's virtually like having an external charger. I have fallen in love with this device and now have three, one in my work bag, one in my golf bag and one in my car. Makes sure they are fully charged but it's a great back up especially during an winter car emergency!
5. Prepare an emergency kit. Store this stuff in your trunk during the winter months, especially if a road trip is in your future, I have a plastic box with this stuff that I keep in the car winter:
- A blanket
- A knit hat, scarf and gloves
- An old sweatshirt
- An extra ice scraper
- A flashlight
- Windshield washer fluid
- Jumper cables
- A small tool kit
- Tire-changing equipment
- A first-aid kit
- Paper towels
- I also throw a bag of sand in the trunk, I find it helps add weight to the back of the car and can provide additional traction if a tire gets stuck in snow.
Driving in the winter can be challenging at times but it doesn't always have to be.
A little preparation and "TLC" for your vehicle will go a long way.
What great winter driving tips do you have to share with us?