Get Your Car Ready for Winter

Winter has many challenges, so it pays to make sure your car is ready to face them. Heavy snow, treacherous ice patches, and salt all make life harder for you and your car. Going through the following checklist should ensure your car sails through winter easily.

get your car ready for winter

1. Check Your Tires

Of course you have winter tires, right? While winter tires aren’t required by law in Ontario yet, you will get an insurance discount for having them. Also, they are much, much safer because they are designed to grip cold, slippery surfaces. You can read more about winter tires vs all season tires here.

Whatever kind of tires you have, have the tread depth checked. If your tires are almost bald, they won’t channel slush very well - this means less grip on the road.

Remember to check for correct inflation on your winter tires and your spare tire as well. They should be set to the pressure specified in your owner’s manual.

2. Check Your Battery Life

Cold weather drains battery life faster, so have your technician ensure yours can handle Ottawa’s freezing temperatures. Also have the terminals checked for corrosion, and ensure the cables are firmly connected too.

3. Replace Your Wiper Blades

Make sure your wiper blades are ready to handle snow, ice and salt without streaking or chattering. If they're hard, cracked, or torn, and prevent you from seeing clearly it's a huge safety hazard. Sunlight, rain and sleet will harden the rubber in your wiper blades over time, and it's not unheard of to change wiper blades yearly.

Don’t forget to check any rear wipers if your car has them.

4. Add Rust Protection

At Bemac, we’re huge fans of Krown rustproofing treatments for the undercarriage of our cars. We’re pretty serious about car protection so we get it done twice a year, but for most drivers once a year works well.

Something to consider for the body of your car is a rust protection film. It’s an invisible layer of plastic that not only keeps your paint looking new, it protects against tiny scratches that can lead to a rust problem. It can save years of life for your car and thousands of dollars in rust repair work as well.

5. Check Your Block Heater and Plug

On those -20°C nights, the oil in your engine gets thick and gluey, making your car engine harder to start in the morning. Having a block heater that works is essential. Specifically, take a look at the plug and make sure it’s not corroded - if it is, the cable from the plug to the block heater can overheat, melt, or even catch fire.

While you’re at it check the extension cord you normally use to plug in as well. Salt from the plug may have corroded the receiving end of the cable.

6. Restock Your Emergency Kit

Here is the bare minimum emergency kit you should have:

  1. Shovel (in case you get ploughed in or stuck in deep snow).
  2. Sand, salt, or gravel (in case you get stuck on an ice patch).
  3. Jumper cables.
  4. Blanket or an extra large, extra warm, old winter coat.
  5. Flat-soled boots (for women who normally wear heels).
  6. Energy bars (in case you’re stuck somewhere for a while).

If you’ve put your ice scraper and snow brush in the garage for the summer it’s a good idea to dig it out again. Adding a bottle of lock de-icer to your regular purse or coat pocket can also save headaches. Here's what we recommend for your emergency car kit.

If you live in a rural area, you may want to consider a full survival kit.

7. Stock Up on Washer Fluid

Most drivers go through several bottles of fluid over the course of a winter, so buy a few extra bottles of washer fluid and keep them handy for topping up. You don’t want to have your view of the road obscured by slush from the cars ahead.

Be Prepared - Especially with Older Cars

The last thing you want is to be stuck by the side of the road in the freezing cold, so ensure your car is ready for anything. If all else fails, have Bemac’s towing hotline number (613-728-1908) on your phone, so you can call easily should anything go wrong.

Bemac can handle all your seasonal maintenance needs, so book an appointment soon to get your preferred date and time.

Want more car maintenance tips? Our infographic lists them all.

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