The Cold Hard Truth about Winter Maintenance
Winters in Alberta can be bone-chilling with wind, snow, and sleet. To protect your vehicle from Old Man Winter’s wrath and ensure safe, worry-free driving during the coldest months, here are a few simple maintenance tips that you can put into practice.
INSPECT YOUR TIRES
Traction is vital in winter weather, so adequate tread depth is imperative. Check your tires, and if the treads are worn, consider buying new tires. Also, it’s best to run winter tires in colder weather instead of all-season tires. (Click here for more details) Be sure to check your tire pressure, especially when temperatures drop. Check the pressure, and if it’s low, top it up to the manufacturer’s SPECs to ensure improved traction and fuel economy. Modern vehicles often have tires filled with nitrogen. You can tell by the green cap on the valve stem. If such is the case, you’ll need to return to your favourite garage or local tire shop for a top-up.
INSPECT YOUR BATTERY
The true test of your battery is how well it performs in cold weather. Having your battery and charging system checked at Gearhead Auto Services will ensure worry-free starts when the temperature drops. It’s always a good idea to plug in your block heater on frigid winter nights. The average life expectancy for a car battery in Canada is between 3 and 5 years. So, a fresh battery is a good way to ensure your vehicle starts on cold winter mornings. (It’s also easier on your engine.) Be sure to ask what cold-cranking amps are best for your vehicle and the correct dimensions for your battery compartment. Remember, the colder the temperature, the greater the strain on your battery, so it must be in good form.
INSPECT YOUR WIPER BLADES
Wiper blades don’t last forever, especially in our climate with rain, snow, heat and extreme cold. When wipers begin to fail, the issue is usually apparent. Here are some telltale signs: the blades become cracked or start to peel, the blades leave streaks or lines on your windshield, or you hear odd sounds such as chattering or squeaking. Blades can become damaged in winter if allowed to freeze to the windshield. New wiper blades improve safety by providing a cleaner view of the road ahead. It is recommended that you change blades every six months with the season or when prompted by regular wear and tear from use and exposure.
INSPECT YOUR LIGHTS
Be seen and be safe. To keep you safe and to ensure that other drivers see you and are aware of your intentions, all the lights on your vehicle must be in proper working order. Regularly check your high and low beam lights, daytime running lights, clearance lights, signal lights, brake lights, taillights, backup lights and fog lamps. And don’t assume your headlights and taillights are illuminated because the dash lights are on. Modern vehicles have daytime running lights which are fine during the day but remember: If you’re driving with only daytime running lights, your taillights are not lit, and at night, that can make your vehicle nearly impossible to see. So, check your lights, stay visible and safe while on the road.
GET AN OIL AND FILTER CHANGE
Getting an oil and filter change is something we do regularly, but it’s imperative during the long, cold months of winter. Fresh oil and a new filter will provide improved lubrication during frigid temperatures. In addition, you may need to adjust the viscosity of your oil during winter months. And remember to plug in your vehicle on bitterly cold nights to ensure easier starts and improved circulation. Your vehicle will also warm up more quickly.
You’ll find all the necessary services at Gearhead Automotive Services to ensure your vehicle runs smoothly and safely during the year’s coldest months.