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Get Your Car Ready for Winter

Get Your Car Ready for Winter

Is your car ready to handle the rigours of a harsh winter? When the temperatures plummet and the roads are covered in ice, a vehicle needs to be in the best shape possible to keep working reliably. Luckily, there's plenty you can do for yourself to get your car ready for winter, and here are some of the most important places to start.

 

1) Prepare a Survival Kit

Prepare a Survival Kit

 

Firstly, before you even look at your car's mechanics, put together a survival kit to keep in the trunk. Even when your own car's in perfect shape, a sudden snow storm can stop traffic and leave you stranded for hours or worse. Make sure you have blankets, water, a flashlight, energy foods, essential medications, and anything else you might need to make an extended stay in a cold car more comfortable.

 

2) Check the Battery

 

Your car's battery needs to work much harder in the winter months when the lights and heater are on for most of the day. Check that it's in good shape now by measuring its charge, and also looking for any visible signs of wear such as swelling or bulges in the case, corrosion on the terminals, or general discoloration.

 

3) Replace Coolant Fluids

Replace Coolant Fluids

 

Now's also the right time to flush and replace your car's coolant fluids, using fresh antifreeze to ensure optimum performance. Also top up your windshield washer reservoir with antifreeze, and store a spare bottle or two in the trunk.

 

4) Check Belts and Hoses

 

And while you've got the hood open, take a quick look at all the belts, hoses, and other moving parts for signs of wear and tear. Any degraded items should be replaced now, as freezing temperatures will speed up failure.

 

5) Check Lights

 

When most of your driving will be done in dark or gloomy conditions, it's vital that all your lights are working correctly. Check all interior and exterior lights, not only that they're working, but also that the bulbs and surrounds aren't showing signs of aging including fogginess or a yellow discoloration. You may like to keep a few spares for the most important lights in your trunk in case of emergency.

 

6) Check the Heater

Check the Heater

 

If you've been running air conditioning all summer, your heater might need a little limbering up. Run it for a few minutes to make sure that it's putting out the expected amount of heat, but also that it's not making any unusual noises or odours that could signal a fault.

 

7) Make the Switch to Snow Tires

 

Lastly, it's important to switch to snow tires before you think you'll need them. Even without icy surfaces, regular tires start to lose grip as the temperature falls toward zero. And if there's an unexpected snowfall while you're still using summer tires, you could find yourself unable to drive at all. In general, the best time to switch to winter tires is when the average daytime temperature is around 7°C.

 

You can't fully guard against mishaps in the colder months, but follow these seven tips to get your car ready for winter and you'll stand the best chance of seeing spring arrive without drama.

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