What does it mean to winterize your vehicle? It means taking a few simple steps to ensure your vehicle’s fluids, systems and tires are ready to help keep you safe on the road this winter. With this handy checklist, getting your car winter ready is easy.
Install winter tires
You can install your winter tires as soon as the temperature is consistently at +7 C or below. The special rubber compound in your winter tires allows them to stay flexible and grip snow and ice for optimum traction.
For the best traction, make sure you also have sufficient tread depth on your tires. Read our article How to Measure Tread Depth on Your Tires for tips on how to do it and what each tread depth level means.
Check your air pressure in all four tires and your spare tire
Cold air can make the pressure in your tire drop significantly, affecting your vehicle’s ability to bite ice and snow. Don’t forget to check the inflation of your spare tire and make sure your tire changing kit is intact and in your vehicle.
Fluids, systems and hardware
Check, change or top up all fluids
- engine coolant
- engine oil
- windshield washer fluid
You should always keep our gas tank at least half full in winter to prevent condensation and ice from building up in your fuel line or in case you need to leave the engine running longer to warm your vehicle or wait out being stuck in traffic because of an accident.
Check your blades, battery, brakes and belts
Your wiper blades should be changed at least twice a year so they can effectively wipe away blowing snow and rain.
Check your battery or have it checked at your local Kal Tire store to see if it’s in good enough shape to get your car started and running through the winter.
Optimum braking is critical for your vehicle to perform on snow and ice in winter. Have your brakes checked along with your engine belts and hoses.
Check your a/c and your exhaust systems
Your vehicle’s A/C system is used to defrost and de-humidify the inside of your vehicle in winter. That’s why it’s imperative to make sure that it is working properly.
You’ll also want to make sure your exhaust system is intact as to avoid leaking exhaust pipes or mufflers, which can cause carbon monoxide poisoning and decrease the efficiency of your vehicle. While you’re at it, make sure that your block heater is still working!
Keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle and make sure it stocked with the following supplies:
- First aid kit
- Bottled water
- Health bars
- Boots, gloves, and an extra winter coat
Remember to dress for winter every day. Even if it looks sunny and mild when you head out, you could be facing a blizzard on the way home.
Your kit should also contain emergency supplies for your vehicle. Include these items:
- Booster cables
- Extra oil and windshield washer fluid
- Lock de-icer, flashlight, flares, safety triangles
- Ice scraper, shovel, bag of salt or gravel
- Tire chains