5 simple things to check before your next winter road trip

Whether you're planning your family's next big winter road trip or simply want to prepare your car for winter driving, it's important to know what to look for. Make sure to check these five frequently overlooked elements to ensure that your car is ready to complete a winter journey safely.

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1. Tires

Although most provinces strongly encourage drivers to use winter tires during the cold and long winter months, none of them aside from Quebec and parts of British Columbia make them required by law. Regardless, it’s important to ensure that your tires are able to manage slippery surfaces. Today’s winter tire is designed with a special tread that grips both ice and snow while remaining supple in freezing cold conditions. It’s also important to make sure that your tires are properly filled with the correct air pressure and that their treads aren’t too worn. Having the right tires could make all the difference while driving to your favourite Canadian ski resort.

2. Brakes

One of the last things you want to experience on a winter road trip is a catastrophic brake failure. Luckily, this can be easily avoided as long as you check your brakes before taking off. It’s crucial that your braking system is balanced, especially when your vehicle begins to skid or drift. Inspect your brake pads, the condition of the discs and the oil level of the brake system. If you notice that your brakes are pulling, squealing or grinding, then you may need to take your car in to be professionally serviced.

3. Fluids

In addition to the oil level in your braking system, you’ll want to make sure that all of your vehicle’s other fluids are in good supply. Check the oil engine level and replenish it if need be. Although it may vary from car to car, you should check the engine oil level every 2,000 km, changing it entirely every 10,000 km. Ensure that you have antifreeze to keep your engine’s cooling system running smoothly, as this helps you avoid any serious radiator damage.

4. Battery

Before starting any serious winter road trip, you want to make sure that the battery is in top shape. Again, you’ll want to double-check its fluid levels, topping up wherever need be. Clean the battery posts and check on the condition of the belts and charging system. Remember to regularly test the strength of your battery in the fall and spring, and replace it if it’s performing weakly. Lastly, confirm that your battery has a full charge before you and your family take off on your next winter drive.

5. Windshield and wipers

One of the most important parts of driving safely is making sure that you have total visibility of the road. Check that your windshield and windshield wipers are both in good condition before setting off on a winter road trip. Bring an ice scraper to clear your view and purchase a window washing fluid that’s cold rated for up to -40°C.

Follow these tips the next time you’re planning a ski trip or winter hike in the mountains. If you’re looking for a new or nearly new vehicle to take you and your friends on a winter road trip, Kijiji Autos has you covered with with an abundance of options available at different price points.

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