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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:

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.


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