The winter weather in Southwestern Ontario has been pretty kind to us so far in 2021 – but it’s important to keep in mind that harsh conditions and dirty words like ‘upcoming polar vortex’ aren’t done with us yet. Winter can be unpredictable – and bad weather can strike at any time. Be ready for whatever heads your way in advance, so you and your vehicle don’t get stuck in a cold and unforgiving situation.
To help you cover the important basics of keeping your used car well maintained, we’ve created the following guide to consider to help keep you and yours safe during freezing temperatures, icy conditions and on the roads with heavy snow.
Are you seeing streaks or missed spots on your windshield when using your wipers? If so, chances are you’re in need of replacements. Changing your blades approximately twice a year will keep them in great condition and peak working order. If your blades are on the brink of retirement, you can temporarily clean them up for better use with some glass cleaner and paper towel, but your best bet is to replace them as soon as possible to ensure better visibility and safety for yourself and others sharing the road with you.
We’ve all seen them…that person cruising down the road after a snowstorm, looking like a combination snowdrift and iceberg on wheels. Save yourself some wear and tear on your wipers and take the time to thoroughly clean the snow and ice off your vehicle and all windows. Have a high-quality ice scraper and snow brush with a good reach and a full reservoir of wiper fluid with an anti-freeze additive. The roads can be dangerous enough on their own, we don’t need to add to the problem by trying to save a few extra minutes before heading out on the road.
Winter brings dark days – and with the sun setting so early, it makes it that much more important to have our headlights in great working condition. If you have foggy, dim, yellow, or burnt-out headlights – they likely need changing ASAP. If there’s snow covering your exterior lights, brush it off before setting out to maximize your safety and visibility.
Are you an all-season type of person? While many feel comfortable braving the elements on all season tires, there’s no question that rubber with deep tread, designed specifically for cold and snowy conditions will provide better traction on wet and icy roads. 4WD might be great for getting you rolling, but there’s no comparison for winter tires when it comes to turning and stopping on wintry roads. As temperatures plummet, so can the air pressure in your tires, so be sure to check tire pressure weekly to make sure you aren’t at risk for premature tire wear and potential accidents from lack of traction.
When was the last time you checked your battery? A vehicle battery that’s getting older is more likely to bite the bullet once temperatures drop below zero – and nobody likes getting stranded in the dead of winter. Solve the problem by having your battery checked or replaced in advance of sub-zero temperatures and save yourself some pain, hassle, and frozen fingers and toes.
It seems simple…and it is. Cold weather can have a negative impact on your oil’s effectiveness and you’ll need to have the right consistency for your vehicle and the conditions you’re driving in. Read your owner’s manual to keep you informed on the manufacturer’s recommendation – or, while you’re having your battery checked out – ask your automotive professional to set you up with the best winter-performance oil for your vehicle.
Fluids, Belts & Hoses
Have you noticed any leakage or stains in your garage, driveway, or parking spot? Coolant (aka antifreeze) is vital as it keeps the engine from freezing in cold temperatures. Keep up with your vehicle maintenance by having a professional flush and fill your coolant to proper levels and inspect belts and hoses for cracks and leaks.
Gas in the Tank
None of us like pumping gas in the freezing cold…but it’s important to keep your vehicle fueled up and not close to running on empty. Not only can it help prevent water from freezing inside your fuel pump, it also leaves you with the security of knowing that you can keep running and stay warm in the event of an emergency.
Heaters & Defrosters
Keep cool, warm, safe, and defrosted by making sure your heating and cooling system is in great working order before the seasonal weather gets too extreme. The benefits are obvious – you’ll be warm, with better visibility from properly defrosted windows, making it safer for both you on the road and the others around you. If your climate control system isn’t working, get it checked out, repaired, or replaced before it becomes a dangerous and uncomfortable situation.
Keep it Clean, Take Cover & Use Protection
We often wait for good weather to get to the car wash, but it’s equally important to keep up with car care and cleaning throughout the winter months. The cold weather can bring road salt, sand, slush, grime – and all that can accumulate in hard-to-reach areas that can lead to rust and other problems. Give your vehicle a good clean and a coat of protective wax to guard against the grimy elements. Don’t have a garage or covered area at home to help protect your vehicle? A good-quality car cover might be the perfect addition to help protect your car.
Time for an Upgrade?
Route 24 Auto wants to make sure you feel safe and secure when you get behind the wheel. While these winter car care tips are a great guideline for helping you stay safe on the roads – there’s no substitute for a quality vehicle. If your vehicle is in need of replacing, we want to help.
To schedule a virtual shopping tour, to set up an appointment or to discuss what you’re hoping to find for a great used vehicle – reach out to Route 24 Auto today. We have the highest Covid-19 safety protocols in place to give you peace of mind, allowing you to focus on what’s most important – getting you behind the wheel of the best new used vehicle for you.