As the leaves begin to turn colour, the temperatures at night drop, and the days get shorter, it’s a sign winter is fast approaching. For much of Canada, this means cold temperatures, snow and ice and poor driving conditions.
The change in seasons is a good time to review the condition of your vehicle and prepare it for winter. It’s easy to procrastinate and put off this task until the first snowfall hits but being ready in advance will give you better security on the road.
Here are a few maintenance tips we believe should be a priority in early fall:
Clean the interior and exterior
It’s a good idea to give your vehicle a deep clean while the weather’s still relatively nice. You don’t want to be digging out garbage and spare change from in between your seats while you’re surrounded by snow and frigid temperatures. Vacuum the carpets and give your dashboard and accessories a clean sweep. Clean out your trunk or truck box so you’ll have room for winter travelling essentials. You might also want to replace your floor mats with weather resistant mats. Clear off all the summer dust and built-up bugs with a good wash. Use a wax that will help coat and protect the exterior from road salt and make it easier to brush away snow and ice. Touch up any scratches or chips as these could get worse over the winter months. No time to do this yourself? Vegreville Ford has a detail department that would be happy to help. Contact us here.
Give your car a tune-up
Cold weather can make existing problems worse and delaying a repair can potentially cost you more money down the road. There are a couple key areas you should pay attention to the first snow fall. The first is your car battery – dropping temperatures and increased accessory use (defrosters, heat, seat and steering warmers, windshield wipers) can all put a strain on your battery. You’ll also want to test your heating system, your front and rear window defrost, and your four-wheel drive as these don’t get a lot of use during the summer months. Ensure these features are all working properly for when you really need them.
Fill-up the fluids
Have a look at your coolant system to ensure it’s working properly and to spot any cracked hoses or leaks. Investigate your brakes and ensure fluid is at the appropriate level. If brake fluid is low it is recommended to have a Service Professional investigate to ensure there is not an underlying issue. The change in temperature can also affect your oil. Check your owner’s manual for specifics on what type of oil works best for your car in each season.
Replace any burnt out lights
Winter brings shorter days which means you’ll be depending more on your lights. Check your headlights, taillights, backup lights, signal lights and your hazard lights to confirm that they are all in working order.
A clear view
If you’ve been putting off fixing a small crack or chip in your windshield, now is the time to do it. The varying temperature changes we see here in Alberta can turn a small chip into a large crack quickly. You’ll also want to put your windshield wipers to the test – are they leaving streaks behind? Your wipers need to be in top shape to ensure they clear off all snow, ice and sleet. If you want blades that will seriously chop away at the snow, you can also buy winter specific wiper blades. Looking for advise on what style of blade to use? Ask us. Switch out your all-season washing fluid for a product with de-icer in it, and don’t forget to grab a few extra containers for the trunk as you’ll likely need to top up the fluid in a month or two.
Dig out the winter tools
Keep a set of gloves, a snow brush and an ice scraper in your vehicle at all times. Try to find a brush with soft bristles to prevent any damage to the paint or glass on your vehicle. It’s also good to have a set of jumper cables in your trunk just in case you or a fellow motorist needs a boost on a frigid day.
Equip your Vehicle with snow tires
It no doubt happens every year – just like everyone else, you wait until the snow hits to put your snow tires on and you’re faced with a difficult time booking an appointment that fits your schedule. To avoid the delay, call our service centre now or reserve your appointment online. Once you’ve got the winter tires on, we can even store your summer tires for you, keeping them secure and ready for you for next season. Ask us about our tire storage service here.
Make sure you’re protected, just in case
Review your emergency roadside kit to make sure it’s well stocked. Replace anything that is expired and ensure to extra winter safety items (candle, matches, heat blanket, folding shovel, spare phone charger). This is also a good time to check your spare tire is in good shape and inflated. Also confirm you have all the tools you need to replace a flat tire.
By preparing your car for the winter months, you can be confident that your vehicle is ready for the icy and slippery driving conditions and cold temperatures that are typically associated with the season.