Preparing for Winter Driving

In a follow up to our recent post on the benefits of winter tires, RedlineNorth now looks at some other tips to get you and your vehicle ready for winter.

Winter Driving (image courtesy of Transport Canada)

                          Winter Driving (image courtesy of Transport Canada)

First up is the road side safety kit.  In general it’s always beneficial to have a roadside safety kit, but it’s even more essential during the winter months. Kits such as these include jumper cables, flashlight, snowbrush/scraper, telescopic shovel and a first-aid kit.  If you don’t want to spend a lot you can get a basic kit and add to it with items such as; candles, power bars/granola bars and a blanket. Although you may not touch your kit for months it’s like a good insurance policy and you’ll be glad you have it the day you need it.

A second consideration for winter driving is to ensure you have a healthy battery. Winter is grueling on cars as the cold weather causes engine fluids to thicken making the engine harder to start, and the cold drains the power out of the batteries. According to the Canadian Automobile Association at 0° Celsius a fully charged battery loses 35% of its power.  As well, if your battery is more than four years old you may want to consider getting a new one, or have a diagnostic test done in order to ensure it’s still healthy. Also be sure to check your terminal connections to make sure they are snug.

Proper winter wiper blades are a third consideration for winter driving.  Summer wiper blades are not designed to accommodate the extra weight from snow build up.   In addition, ice can form around the blade, clogging the wiper action.

Reflex Ice Winter Wiper Blades

                        Reflex Ice Winter Wiper Blades

Winter blades are designed to be heavier and operate at temperatures of up to -40 degrees Celsius.  At the end of the day if you can’t see out of your car or truck because of ice and snow build up you’re more likely to have an accident.

Finally, for those drivers with extra enthusiasm for preparing their car for winter one can always consider restoring your car’s headlight assembly.  This kit from Meguiar’s and others like it, can be used to repair oxidized, yellowed and scratched headlights.

        Headlight Restoration Kit

Over time as your vehicle ages, headlights become cloudy and dull, reducing overall light output. With shorter daylight hours during the winter, it’s even more important to ensure you get maximum light output. Here is an example of a headlight that has been restored.  The left hand side shows the original condition and the right side shows the results of the restoration.

For those of us who live in areas that experience a true winter season the responsibility is on individual drivers to make the necessary preparations with their vehicle.  Hopefully, these tips have been useful and we wish everyone a safe and fun driving experience this winter.

For additional winter driving tips visit the Transport Canada website.