With winter right around the corner, it's important to know everything you can do to help get your vehicle ready, and keep it protected during the long, cold Alberta winters. It's no secret that winter months are harder on vehicles, and pretty much everything else, than the nice, warm summer months that always seem to leave us too quickly. Many parts on our cars and trucks don't especially like the cold weather, kind of like we don't always like being out in the bitter cold all that much. Thankfully, there are a few, simple tricks that can help keep your vehicle in tip-top shape during the winter months.
1. Replace Windshield Wipers
If you've got windshield wipers that leave streaks when you use them, you should definitely consider changing them before winter gets here. Dirt, mud, and salt gets kicked up from the road in the winter so that means you'll be using your wipers more than you would typically use them in the summer. New wipers will help keep your vision clear and steak-free!
2. Switch to Winter Tires
Winter tires have different tread patterns than traditional summer or all-season tires which allows them to provide better grip and traction on the slippery winter roads. The rubber compound used to make winter tires has also been specifically made to optimize your traction while driving through the snow and/or ice.
3. Check Cooling System
We know what you're thinking, "Why would I need to check my engine cooling system when it's below freezing outside?" While this may be true, the cold weather makes the rubber hoses and tubes in the cooling system to become brittle and can even cause them to fail. Hoses should be firm, yet pliable when you squeeze them. Wait until your engine is cool to check them out, and replace them if necessary.
4. Check Your Battery
Cold weather is extremely tough on your vehicle's battery. The chemical reactions that are required to generate power in a car or truck battery slow way down in the extreme cold we frequently experience here in Alberta. When it's –15C, your battery is operating at about half of its normal strength. Also, if you don't use an engine block heater, the oil in your engine will begin become thicker than usual which will make your battery work extra hard to start your vehicle. Make sure to get your battery checked before the cold sets in to see if it needs any maintenance.