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7 Winter Car Maintenance Tips
As Canadians, we currently find ourselves knee deep in the middle of yet another Canadian winter. For most of us, that brings about commutes to work on salt covered roads, early mornings waiting for the car to heat up, and dark nights scraping ice off your windshield. But you’re not the only one that’s affected by harsh winter conditions… Day in and day out – winter elements begin to take a toll on your car.
TO AVOID UNNECESSARY REPAIRS, KEEP YOUR CAR ON THE ROAD, WITH YOUR SAFETY OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE, FOLLOW THESE WINTER MAINTENANCE TIPS DURING THE WINTER MONTHS.
1. Vehicle lighting should be functioning perfectly
Because the sun sets so much earlier in the winter, making sure your vehicle’s lights are functioning perfectly is really important for safe winter driving. Before getting behind the wheel, remember to brush the snow off both your front and rear lights. If you notice your lights are starting to dim, get them replaced as soon as you can. And if you notice your headlights are beginning to yellow, discolour, or look foggy, give us a call! At The Mufflerman, we can get them looking good as new.
2. Frequently check your tire pressure
As temperatures drop, so does your tire pressure. Depending on your vehicle and what type of tires you have, your tire pressure can drop anywhere from one to two PSI for every 10-degree drop in temperature. Driving with low tire pressure is dangerous and can even lead to premature wear on your tires. At The Mufflerman, we recommend everyone drive with a tire pressure gauge, allowing you to easily check your tire pressure regardless of where you are. If you notice your pressure is low, top it up as soon as you can.
3. Keep an eye on your vehicle’s climate control and defroster
The climate control system in your vehicle helps keep you warm in the winter, while your defroster keeps your windows from fogging and icing up. If you notice either of these systems is beginning to fail, you’ll want to get it checked and repaired right away. Without these systems functioning properly, your vehicle will have a very hard time handling winter elements, like ice build up, and your commute will become both dangerous and uncomfortable.
4. Don’t neglect your battery (and keep jumper cables in your trunk)
People aren’t the only ones who struggle to wake up in the winter – your car does too. Colder temperatures make it harder for your battery to function properly, leading to a battery that becomes weak, or even dies during winter temperatures. If you notice your car is having a hard time starting, bring it in for a battery load test. This will tell you the state of your battery and if it’s time for a replacement. To play it safe, always keep a set of jumper cables in your car, that way if it has died, you can get a boost and prevents you from getting stranded in the snow.
5. Make visibility a priority with washer fluid
Driving in the winter can be difficult even with a clear windshield – now imagine trying to drive with worn wiper blades and no washer fluid. Drive safe and make sure your windshield washer fluid is always topped up, with a full spare jug in the trunk of your car. Running out can leave you in a dangerous situation with low visibility, salt build-up, or streaks across your windshield.
6. Keep your gas topped up
You may have heard the advice to keep your gas tank full in the winter, but here’s why… Aside from the fact that getting stranded somewhere in the winter would be terrible, it’s also to ensure your vehicle can start. Condensation can form in your fuel tank when it’s not full, and when that condensation has the chance to freeze, it leads to no-start conditions. Keeping your fuel tank at least half full ensures condensation doesn’t have the chance to form and your vehicle can start.
7. Be prepared for an emergency
Canadian weather can turn in a matter of minutes, and while it might sound unnecessary for urban drivers, those who drive on rural roads may want to consider equipping their car with a winter survival kit. If you become stranded, having blankets, a flashlight, a cellphone charger, warm clothes, and a first-aid kit can keep you safe and warm while you wait for help. While it’s less so a winter maintenance tip and more so a winter preparedness tip, it’s an easy thing to do to ensure you and your family are safe on the roads this winter.
If you think your car might need some attention to stay safe this winter, contact The Mufflerman. Our full-service repair shops and licensed mechanics are ready to help you keep your car safe and on the road this winter.
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Insurance companies in Ontario offer something called a Winter Tire Discount, offering drivers up to 5% off their annual auto insurance rate by installing winter tires on their vehicle.