Get your car winter ready

When winter is on the way, it's important to get started on your car maintenance ahead of time to prevent driving issues once the snow and cold hit.

By doing a bit of basic winter car care and preparing a winter car kit, you’ll be ready to take on the roads with confidence, avoid damage to your vehicle, and keep your driving experience safe and comfortable. Here’s a quick guide to preparing your vehicle for the chilly days ahead!

Change to snow tires

One of the main changes you should make before the snow arrives is the switch to snow tires. These tires give you the traction you need to drive safely, and the grip to stop when it’s slippery out. If you’re planning on driving over any mountain passes, off cleared roads or other areas with extra snowy conditions, investing in snow chains can be a good way to ensure you won’t get stuck on your way.

Wax or treat your car for rust

The combination of wet weather and the salt used to keep ice from forming on the roads provides prime conditions for rust to start to develop on your car. Avoid this damage by taking your car in now to be cleaned and waxed. Ask for an anti-rust coating to be applied to the car or even just the undercarriage if you really want to prevent rust from taking hold.

Check windshield wipers & fluid

Windshield wipers are a vital tool for visibility when it’s snowing out, making it important to check that yours are not dry, cracked or worn out. If they are leaving streaks or showing signs of wear, switch them out for fresh new blades. Switch your windshield wiper fluid to one that contains anti-freeze to ensure that your wiper blades won’t freeze to your windshield as you’re driving.

Tune up and check fluids

Bring your vehicle in for maintenance, and have the mechanic top up fluids and double check that you have a full supply of anti-freeze to protect your engine from chilly temperatures. Have them do an oil change, switching out the more viscous summer oil for a lower viscosity oil that will flow better in the winter. It’s also a good idea to check the brakes and suspension to ensure that everything is in working order to take on slick roads. Test the heater to ensure that everything is running properly to keep you feeling warm on the road. Ensure that the car battery is working well and holding a full charge, as cold weather will put extra strain on it.

Create a winter car kit

While you hopefully will never need to use your emergency car kit, it’s important to be prepared, just in case. Here’s a handy list of things to get you started.

  • Jumper cables (or better yet, a charged portable car battery jump starter)
  • Sand or kitty litter for traction
  • Shovel
  • Ice scraper
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight
  • Food and water (bring water with you each time instead of leaving it in the car, where it may freeze)
  • Map
  • Extra windshield wipers
  • Spare cell phone charger
  • Blankets

These items will help you get going again if you get stuck on the road, find yourself with a dead battery or are overcome by the snow or ice. If you need to wait for help, items like blankets, a first aid kit and food will help you stay as comfortable as possible as you wait.