In a city where roads are arguably at their most dangerous in the winter, it is understandable that accidents would be more common. Canadian insurance companies report a 49% rise in vehicle collision related claims in December and January. Most of these consist of a driver hitting another car or getting hit themselves (each making up around 22% of the total claims). The rest are single-car accidents and acts of nature, which are less common. If you own a car, you know that accidents present many issues. Winterizing helps reduce your chances of being involved in an accident and offers added benefits to you and your vehicle.
Clean the Inside
Vacuum the carpets and give your dashboard and accessories a wipe down. Clean out your trunk so you’ll have room for winter travelling basics. You might also want to replace your floor mats with weather resistant mats.
Use a wax that will help coat and protect the exterior of your vehicle from road salt and one that will make it easier to brush away snow and ice. Touch up any scratches or chips as these could get worse over the winter.
The cold weather can make existing problems with your vehicle worse and postponing a repair can potentially cost you more money down the road. There are several areas that you should pay attention to.
- Your car battery – dropping temperatures and increased accessory use can drain your battery. You wouldn’t want to dig your car out of a mountain of snow just to find it won’t start anyways.
- You’ll also want to test your heat system – your front and rear window defrost.
- Top up your fluids – you’ll want to find a washer fluid that has de-icer in it. Don’t forget to grab a few extra containers for the trunk as you’ll likely need them in a month or two.
- Replace any burnt out lights – winter brings shorter days, which means spending more time driving in the dark. Check your headlights, taillights, backup lights, signal lights and your hazard lights to confirm that they are all working.
- Fix any windshield chips – as the days get chillier, the cold air causes your windshield to expand and retract which may cause existing cracks to spread.
- Replace windshield wipers – make sure to test your wipers to make sure they aren’t leaving streaks behind, you’ll need them in the best shape to clear off all the snow and ice.
- Snow tires – to avoid delays at your service centre, call them in the early fall to inquire when the best time to make the switch is. Some service centres offer tire storage for a small fee. If you store your tires yourself, put them in plastic bags in a cool consistent environment.
Keep a set of gloves, a snow brush and an ice scraper in your car at all times. Try to find a brush with soft bristles to prevent any damage to the paint or glass on your car. It is also good to have a set of jumper cables in your trunk just in case you or another driver needs a boost.
Emergency Roadside Kit
Evaluate your emergency roadside kit to make sure it can be of assistance if you get stranded. This is also a good time to check your spare tire to ensure that it’s inflated and to confirm that you have all the tools you need to replace a flat tire.
Avoid Frozen Doors/Locks
Prevent frozen locks and doors by adding a little lubricant. You can spray a graphite-based lock lubricant into keyholes, using short blasts. You can also apply a silicone-based rubber lubricant on weather stripping that’s located on car doors to prevent the seals from sticking together and ripping. This also works on the trunk and hood seals.
By preparing your car for the winter season, you can be confident that your vehicle is ready for icy and slippery driving conditions.