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Recent Blog Posts

Winter Car Maintenance Best Practices

Winter car maintenance

 

With snow on its way in Toronto and winter conditions in effect around the province, we thought it was a good time to discuss what you should be doing for your car at this time of year.

You want to keep your car insurance as cheap as possible, right? Part of that is doing what you can to avoid a car accident. And taking the steps to winterize your ride is an important way to ensure that you stay safe on the road.

If you already took care of fall maintenance for your car, your vehicle should be in good shape. Here are a few additional tips to keep you car running smoothly during the winter months.

Winter car maintenance best practices

~ Winter tires are a must at this time of year and in Ontario, you even get a discount off your car insurance rates just for having them.

~ Speaking of tires, it’s also a good idea to check on your tire pressure once in a while (say once a month or so). Drops in temperature could result in changes to your pressure and keeping the proper inflation on your tires is important for safety, as well as the longevity of your tires and your fuel efficiency.

~ Consider switching to a winter weight oil to help with engine start-up and lubrication.

~ Check your brakes (here are some warning signs you have a brake issue), your headlight bulbs and covers to ensure ideal illumination (winter tip – try waxing your headlight covers to prevent buildup of ice and snow) and your exhaust system to look for any leaks (especially important in the winter when you are always driving with your windows closed).

~ Avoid running on empty. Keeping your gas tank half full when it’s cold helps to reduce the condensation in the tank and prevent any freezing of the gas line.

~ Consider a new battery. If yours is more than five years old, likely time for a new one. Also be sure that your battery is clean and corrosion free – cold weather puts pressure on your battery’s power.

~ Keep an eye on your coolant. Not only does it need to be topped up, it also needs to be of the right concentration. Generally a 50/50 ratio of water to coolant works, however if you live somewhere really cold, you might need to adjust the concentration (coolant should never exceed 70%). A local mechanic should be able to make the right recommendation for you.

~ Keep it manual. If you’re a cruise control junkie, you might want to lighten up during the winter. When it’s wet, cold, icy, snowy and otherwise miserable out there, zipping around with cruise control makes it more likely for you to lose control. Better to keep things in your own capable hands.

You can see more tips and recommendations for winter driving from our friends at the Be Car Aware program: https://www.becarcareaware.ca/car-care-resources/car-care-tips/seasonal/#winter

You can also check out our checklist for winter driving in this post.

Remember folks, stay cautious, stay aware and stay safe out there. Have any questions about winter vehicle maintenance and car insurance? Get in touch with us.

Disclosure: This information is intended for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace the advice or expertise of a certified auto mechanic or qualified technician.

 

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Burglary Prevention Tips for Your Home

burglary prevention

‘Tis the season and for many of us, that means plenty of time away from home merry making at holiday gatherings or heading out of town to be with family and friends. And as the movie Home Alone so famously taught us, it can be a great time for burglars to make their mark.

Burglary facts

First off, let’s start with some interesting facts about burglary to guide your plan of attack:

~ Most burglars strike during the daytime

~ 1/3 of burglars enter from the basement

~ 1/3 of burglars force entry through a window or door

~ 1/3 of burglars gain access from an unlocked door or window

Burglary prevention tips

So apart from the obvious “lock your windows and doors”, let’s go over some other tips to help make your home less attractive and lessen the chance of a robbery and resultant home insurance claim:

– Keep curtains and blinds closed at night or while you’re away so that thieves can’t peek in to scope out your belongings.

– Get an alarm system, but don’t rely on it exclusively. It should be your last line of defense and you should still follow burglary prevention best practices.

– If you’re going away for a short period, leave some lights on to make the house look occupied. For longer absences, using timers for lights is a great way to make your home look occupied. You can include your Christmas lights too!

– Keep any valuables locked away (like in a security box) and put them somewhere that isn’t obvious like the cliched jewelry box on your bedroom dresser.

– Make sure that there is good visibility around your home, such as making sure that shrubbery and bushes aren’t blocking doors and windows or installing motion sensored outdoor lights.

– Consider a “Beware of Dog” sign, whether you have a dog or not. This alone can be a deterrent. Who’s to know that Fluffy is more likely to lick someone silly than truly pose a threat? 😉

– Have basement windows? This is one of the most popular access points for burglars so consider security bars.

– Consider your exterior doors. They should be as secure as possible. Think deadbolts, hinges that don’t have center pins that can be easily removed or tampered with and solid, not hollow, makeup (metal is the best!)

Are you a visual person? You can also check out this infographic with tips from the York Regional Police.

Are you planning on going away either to spend Christmas out of town, or perhaps heading someone warm this winter? Then be sure to check out our tips for keeping your home safe while you are on holidays (we are talking about summer vacations but the same suggestions apply any time of year, minus the lawn tip of course 🙂 ).

 

Have any questions about robberies and home insurance? Time for a new policy for your house and property? Get in touch with us today or click here to start your online quote.

 

Image courtesy of freedooom at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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