Statistics from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police show that nearly 30% of all collisions reported occurred on wet, snowy, or icy roads. This is why having a winter car maintenance checklist on hand each year to follow comes in handy.
If you’re like most Canadians, your car is your go-to mode of transportation during the winter. But before you hit the icy roads, it’s important to make sure your car is prepared for the cold weather.
From checking your antifreeze and windshield wipers to ensuring you have the right winter tires to pull you through the snow, you can use this auto maintenance checklist to get your car ready for the cold winter ahead.
Winter Car Maintenance Checklist
As mentioned, winter is a tough season for cars, especially in Canada. The cold weather can cause all sorts of problems, from dead batteries to frozen hoses.
That’s why it’s important to have a winter car maintenance checklist to make sure your car is prepared for the winter months. Follow this checklist to help ensure that your car is ready for anything the winter throws its way.
Get a Complete Auto Maintenance Checkup
Before you start driving in winter weather, it’s helpful to start with some car care. Getting a full car maintenance checkup will help ensure your car is in good working order and help avoid any unpleasant surprises.
During a complete car maintenance checkup, the mechanic will check the engine, tires, brakes, fluids, and belts to make sure everything is working properly. They may also recommend changing the oil or other standard annual maintenance tune-ups.
Check Your Antifreeze
Check your antifreeze levels regularly but especially just before the first freeze hits. Antifreeze helps keep your engine cool and prevents it from freezing in the winter. If you don’t have enough antifreeze, your engine could overheat or freeze.
Check your owner’s manual to find out how often to check your antifreeze levels. If you’re not sure how to do it, ask a mechanic. They can also help you top off your antifreeze levels if they’re low.
Check Your Windshield Wipers
One maintenance task that is often overlooked is checking the condition of your windshield wipers. Windshield wipers are made of rubber, and cold weather can cause the rubber to become hard and brittle.
As a result, your wipers may not function as well in freezing temperatures, which can lead to reduced visibility and an increased risk of accidents. To avoid this, be sure to check your wipers before the winter season starts and replace them if necessary.
Check Your Screen Wash
While you’re checking your windshield wipers, be sure to check the levels of your screen wash. This is the solution that helps to keep your windshield clean, and it’s important to make sure that it can withstand colder temperatures.
The last thing you want is for your screen wash to freeze on your windshield, making it difficult to see while driving. You can either buy a pre-mixed screen wash or mix your own using distilled water and screen wash concentrate.
Make sure to follow the instructions on the bottle, and top off your screen wash regularly throughout the winter season.
Check Your Exterior Lights
The last one on this list is something that most first-time car buyers often forget.
Your headlights, taillights, and turn signals all need to be in good condition to help you see and be seen while driving in winter weather. Check each light bulb to make sure it is working and replace any burnt-out bulbs.
When you can, you should also clean your lights regularly to keep them shining brightly. This is especially important during the winter months when snow and dirt can cover the lights.
Use This Winter Car Equipment List
If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and ice, then you need to make sure your car is equipped with the right tools to help you get around safely.
Aside from making sure the parts of your car are working properly, you need to ensure you’ve got the right tools and gear inside to help you brave winter weather in the case of an emergency. Here is a list of essential winter car equipment every Canadian driver needs.
If you’re like most people, your phone is one of your most important lifelines.
You rely on it to stay connected with family, friends, and work. In the event of an emergency, your phone could be the difference between life and death. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your phone is always charged.
A dead phone battery is one of the worst things that can happen, especially in the middle of a winter storm. A good quality phone charger will help you avoid this nightmare scenario. And, if you have the space for one, stock it with a charged portable battery as well.
Hazard Warning Triangle
Hazard warning triangles are most commonly used to warn other drivers of a hazard on the road ahead, such as a disabled car or an accident.
In some areas of the world, it’s a requirement to have a hazard warning triangle in your car. While it’s not mandatory in Canada, it’s a great idea to have one in case of emergency. And since they’re typically pretty cheap to buy, it makes sense to include on in your winter car kit.
Get one and fold it up for easy storage in your trunk or under a seat.
First Aid Kit
It’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit in your car. However, it becomes even more important during the cold Canadian winter when drivers become stranded more often. You never know when you may need it.
If you already have one then it’s important to make sure that your first aid kit is well-stocked and up-to-date. Here are some items that should be included:
- Bandages of various sizes
- Gauze pads
- Adhesive tape
- Antiseptic wipes or ointment
- Pain relief medication (ibuprofen, acetaminophen)
- Cotton balls or swabs
- Safety pins
- Disposable gloves
- Emergency blanket
This is just a basic list of items. You may want to add additional items, depending on your individual needs. It’s also a good idea to include a list of emergency numbers, such as the number for poison control and the number for local emergency services.
By being prepared, you can help ensure that you and your passengers stay safe during the winter months.
Deicer & Scraper
A deicer and scraper are both important winter car equipment for every Canadian driver. A good deicer can help prevent your car from freezing in cold weather while a scraper can help remove snow and ice from your windshield.
If you have a windshield ice scraper, begin clearing the ice and snow from your windshield. It’s important to clear as much as possible so that you have a clear view of the road when you start driving again. Once you’ve cleared your windshield, you can begin deicing your car.
Allow it to sit for a few minutes to melt the ice before using your ice scraper to remove it.
Shovels come in handy for clearing snow and ice from your car, as well as for digging your way out if you get stuck. Shovels vary in size and weight, so it’s important to choose one that will be easy to handle in cold, slippery conditions.
Many shovels also have a built-in ice scraper, which can be useful for quickly removing frost from your windshield. When shopping for a shovel, look for one with a comfortable grip and a sturdy blade.
If your car breaks down this winter, you’ll be glad you have a flashlight. Flashlights are essential for changing tires in the dark and can also be used to signal for help. Be sure to check the batteries before you head out on a long trip.
As temperatures start to drop, it’s important to make sure you have the right equipment in your car in case of an emergency. Warm clothes should be at the top of your list. A blanket, extra jacket, and gloves can make a big difference if you get stranded in cold weather.
If you’ve ever been stuck in the snow then you’ll know just how important a tow rope can be to help get your car out. However, tow ropes are also useful if you need to tow another car that is stuck in the snow.
If you don’t have a tow rope, you can usually find one at a local hardware store or auto parts store. Be sure to read the instructions on how to use a tow rope before you use it so that you don’t damage your car or the other car.
Or, ask about this at the dealer when you’re buying your car.
Winterize Your Car With Winter Tires
Finally, it’s a great idea to think about winterizing your tires. Winter is a tough season for your car, no doubt. The cold weather can wreak havoc on your battery, and the roads are often covered in snow and ice.
But perhaps the most important way to winterize your car is to install winter tires. Winter tires are designed to provide better traction in cold weather and on icy roads. Here’s how to know if they’re right for your car.
Are All-Season Tires Good for Snow?
The answer is that all-season tires can provide decent traction in light snow, but they are not ideal for driving in heavy snow or on icy roads. Winter tires are specifically designed to provide better traction in these conditions.
This is because winter tires have deeper treads that help to grip the road, and their rubber compound is designed to remain flexible in cold temperatures. As a result, winter tires can provide a significant safety advantage when the roads are slippery.
If you live in an area that experiences regular snowfall, winter tires are a worthwhile investment. Because Canada receives so much snowfall each year, most Canadian tire companies offer these tires at fair prices.
Check Your Tire Size
Before you head out to buy your winter tires, be sure to check your tire size. Winter tires are designed to provide better traction in snow and ice, making them essential for driving in winter conditions. However, not all tires are created equal.
The size of the tire is usually indicated on the side of the tire. Once you know the size of your tires, you can choose the right winter tires for your car. Then, you’ll be ready to hit the road when the snow starts to fall.
Consider Getting Your Tires Siped
One way to make sure your new car and winter tires are ready for winter driving conditions is to get your tires siped. Siping your tires helps to improve traction on icy and snow-covered roads. It also helps to prevent skidding and makes it easier to stop your car if you need to.
You can get your tires siped at a variety of places. You can go to a tire shop, or you can contact a mobile service that will come to you. You can also find many DIY kits online that will allow you to do it yourself.
Whichever method you choose, make sure that you read the instructions carefully and that you have all of the necessary tools before getting started.
Find the Right Car for Winter
While this car maintenance checklist for winter is helpful, it’s not that helpful unless you plan on driving around in your dream car. If you’re like most Canadians and have been shut out of the traditional lending market then we’re here to help.
With CarsFast, you can apply for an auto loan in as quickly as two minutes. Click here to get started.