Passenger view driving on a rural highway in the winter.

How To Prepare Your Vehicle For Canadian WintersNovember 25th, 2022

It’s that time of year again when Canadians are wondering what season we are in. You’re heading to work in your light fall clothes, with your windows open, only to leave work shivering cold, with your seat warmers on and the heat blasting, wishing you brought your winter jacket.

If there is anything Canadians should know, it is that our seasons are unpredictable. Before you know the leaves have fallen, snow is on the ground and now you’re rushing to get snow tires on. Avoid becoming a member of the summer tires club at the annual meeting during the first snowfall. You are almost shocked to find out you can’t get an appointment for at least another few weeks as everyone who also waited is rushing to get them on too. Make that appointment as soon as you can. While you’re at it, here are a few other things to consider when getting your vehicle ready for winter! 

Winter Tires

Putting your winter tires on early and replacing them when needed is only one of the many things you can do to prepare your car for winter. Make an appointment early to beat the rush of all who believe our Canadian winter won’t come any earlier than Christmas. Don’t be a procrastinator. We all know those fall jackets sit on our coat hooks for a limited time before the toques and parkas come out. 

Fluid Stock Up

Don’t you love the magic of a snow globe? A beautiful scene turns into a magical winter wonderland with a simple shake. However, what’s not so peaceful is trying to see through a cloudy windshield covered in dirt from the snow as you try to navigate your way through a snowstorm. Those flakes are suddenly your worst nightmare when you become the scene inside the snow globe. You can never have too much windshield wiper fluid but be sure to buy washer fluid that can sustain -40 weather.

Wiper Blades

While you are at it, you should also check your wiper blades. All that fluid won’t do you good if your wipers are worn out. We often like to play a fun game here during Canadian winters called “Guess the lane?” We try to guess where those lane dividers are under those snow-covered highways and create our obstacle course on the roadways as we head to our destinations. The only way you can safely navigate the way is to have a clear vision. Don’t set yourself up for failure by neglecting those windshield wipers.

Snow Brush Galore

We will be the first to admit that we have reached for that hockey stick to clear off our car after a big snowfall instead of a snow brush. While it works better than a sleeve, you can’t properly scrape off the ice with the blade of a hockey stick. So, if you’re the type who often forgets a snowbrush in the garage or a different vehicle, invest in more than one snowbrush. Leave one in each vehicle, one in the trunk, or even at home just in case.

Emergency Kit

Jack Frost has a mind of his own and so does your car. Even with regular checkups, you can never predict when a breakdown will happen or when an unexpected snowstorm will hit. In case you get stuck on the side of the road, prepare a kit to assist you during emergencies. This kit should include matches, jumper cables, flashlights, heavy blankets or sleeping bags, a first aid kit, and maybe even some snacks. Also, check on your spare tire and ensure it is in good condition. While you are at it, now would be a perfect time to learn to change one if you don’t yet know how to. Would you rather, freeze in your car and wait for someone to rescue you, or endure the cold for a few minutes to change it yourself and get back on the road?

Floor Mats

While many of us probably do the boot kick along the bottom of the vehicle to shake the snow off before we step inside, it just keeps us from collecting a pile of snow at our feet. Installing floor mats is a great and easy way to keep your car dry, and the material protected. They are easily removable to shake off, and they are water resistant which means you won’t need to worry about the fabric underneath getting ruined from being sopping wet all winter. 

Battery Check

It may just be a Canadian dream to not have to let our vehicles run for a while before we can safely drive away during those winter months, but unfortunately, even our vehicles need a little pep talk before they are ready to brace the cold. So, if you haven’t given much thought to your battery in quite some time, now would be the perfect time to give it some attention. Get comfortable with your vehicle’s battery life and be sure to replace it when needed. Make sure it’s strong enough to sustain our cold, Canadian winters, and don’t procrastinate on replacing it. The last thing you need is to have that battery die in the season when you depend on it most. You may only cause more damage to your vehicle as well, by taking off before your car is properly warmed up. 

Review Your Coverage

When was the last time you reviewed your auto policy? Are you confident in the coverage that you have? While no one likes to think about the unthinkable, the winter can turn our roadways into a skating rink in a matter of just a few hours. Black ice may just be a Canadian’s worst enemy during the winter months because we can’t see it. Take some time to review your coverage and talk to them about options that are available to you to ensure you are properly covered in the unfortunate event you have a claim. 

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