How to prepare your car for winter

Winter is on it’s way and with it come many potentially dangerous situations. If there's one thing that we can clearly tell you is that the last thing you want is for your car to break down in the harsh winter weather. Here is what you can do to prepare your car for winter and what to keep in your car if you are snowed in:

1. Have a mechanic check your battery and charging system for the best performance. Low temperatures are hard on car batteries;
2. Clean and flush the cooling system, then put in new antifreeze. Make sure to do this at least every two years;
3. Check heaters, defrosters and wipers. Get winter wipers and make sure to have winter washer fluid;
4. Get winter tires and check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. Safety experts recommend at least 3mm minimum tread depth for winter driving;
5. Change your oil and filter at the recommended intervals. Consider “winter weight” oil if you live or travel in places with very cold temperature. Tip: check your fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time;
6. Check your car and get a tune-up before winter starts. Cold weather can complicate existing mechanical problems;
7. Check your brakes as they are the most important safety item that a car is equipped with;
8. While your car is being looked at make sure to have them check the exhaust system for carbon monoxide leaks. This can be dangerous during winter when driving with the windows closed;
9. Check both exterior and interior lights with extra care to the headlights and fog lights if available;
10. You can also check the pressure and quality of your spare tire.

If however you do find yourself trapped for several hours in your car in harsh winter conditions until the vehicle recovery team comes to provide assistance you should probably be equipped with a winter car kit. Here is what we suggest you keep in your car for the winter. This should be of help in most winter related situations:

• A collapsible shovel – to clear the way if you’re stuck in the snow;
• A blanket and extra clothes – to keep you warm while waiting for help;
• WD40 multifunctional spray – for frozen locks and mechanisms;
• A car phone charger – to make sure you can call for help;
• Screen wash and wipers – get new ones before the season;
• Vaseline – a cheaper alternative to make help your car doors not stick;
• A tow rope – if you get stuck and a car to help you out, but no rope;
• Bottled water and dry food snacks – get foods that won’t spoil quickly.
• Extra fuel – running the engine to keep you warm can consume your fuel very fast.

During winter we also recommend you keep your gas tank at least half full. This will prevent moisture from forming in the gas lines that could lead to freezing. We hope that most drivers will make the necessary checkups and we will have a winter with only a few accidents. Remember to drive safe and keep warm.