Winter brings upon many different conditions that can be quite taxing on both a vehicle and its driver. The best way to combat these conditions is with a proactive attitude rather than a reactive one.
Instead of waiting until you find yourself in a parking lot with a vehicle that refuses to start and no booster cables, take a quick inventory of the emergency items which reside in the trunk of your vehicle. In doing this, you will have piece of mind in knowing that you are prepared if a situation should arise when you might require these items. Not only should you make sure that you have these emergency items, but also that the vehicle is prepared for the trip that lies ahead.
There are a few routine checks that can be done to minimize the likelihood of a vehicle malfunction and keep you safe throughout the duration of the winter months.
- Ensure that your tires are inflated to the recommended pressure as outlined either on the sticker in the driver’s door or the owner’s manual. This will ensure the best traction of the vehicle.
- Consider purchasing winter tires. Not only can they help you gain traction when stuck or driving in snowy/slushy conditions, but they can greatly increase traction for quick steering maneuvers and decrease the distance that it takes to stop the vehicle.
- Check your windshield wipers to ensure that they are not streaking or smearing the windshield, if they are, replace either the rubber inserts (where applicable) or the wiper blade assembly.
- Always make sure that your windshield washer fluid reservoir is full and even carry an extra jug in the vehicle for top-ups.
- Have your battery tested at your service facility. The cold temperatures can be very hard on the life of a battery and this is often when they fail. You may also want them to do a quick inspection of your belts and hoses.
- Have an emergency kit with a flashlight, jumper cables, and a simple tool kit.
- Ensure that your antifreeze is topped up, if the fluid is low, it can cause items like hoses to crack and/or break.
- When washing your vehicle, make sure to spray underneath the vehicle to clear out any salt and sand deposits that may have accumulated.
- Using the above checklist will certainly decrease the chances of a vehicle breakdown. In addition, this maintenance will prolong the life of the vehicle and the components within it. Winter can be hard on a vehicle but if properly monitored and maintained, the vehicle is far less likely to experience a problem. Again, a proactive attitude will save a great deal of hassle and potential discomfort. Being conscientious of the few factors listed above will give you piece of mind and have you prepared in case you do encounter a problem. As always, the most important safety tip for driving during inclement weather is to assess the conditions and drive accordingly.
Good luck to all during this winter season and drive safely!
Written by Warren Paxton for mycollingwood.ca and Blue Mountain Honda