As fall draws to close, many drivers across Canada and the Northern United States will be preparing their vehicles for another winter. Frozen snowy highways put an incredible strain on even the best vehicles, and the salt, sand, and grit used to combat the danger of icy roads can have a damaging corrosive effect on powertrains and engines.
This is why it’s important to make sure that these five elements of routine seasonal vehicle maintenance have been taken care of before the snow starts to fly.
- Check Fluids
There are three main fluids you should check every fall: oil, antifreeze, and window-washer fluid. Regular oil checks should be a standard piece of seasonal maintenance, but it is especially important to make sure that your car has enough antifreeze and washer fluid to make it through the coming months, as these fluids will be vital to the functionality and safety of your vehicle once winter hits.
- Upgrade To Winter Tires
If you live in a cold part of the country, you may want to rotate out your regular tires for winter tires. Sub-zero conditions can have a significant impact on your tire’s responsiveness and traction, and winter tires are specially designed to grip the highway better and remain more flexible at lower temperatures.
- Test Your Battery (And Replace It If You Need To)
Batteries do not perform as well in cold weather as they do in warm weather, and the colder it gets, the more likely it becomes that a battery will die. This is why, if you live in an area where the weather gets particularly cold, it is important to plug your car’s battery in overnight to ensure the car will start in the morning.
If the battery is already running low on power, winter can be especially hard on it, which is why it is important to test your battery at an automotive service centre like Yorkdale Dufferin Mazda before the temperatures start to drop to make sure it is in good condition. If it doesn’t look like it will last the winter, have it replaced immediately.
- Consider Oil Undercoating
The worst damage from winter roads often occurs where it is hardest to detect: on the underside of your vehicle, where sand and salt get kicked up by your wheels to wreak havoc with your powertrain. Oil undercoating can help reduce the risk of corrosion over the winter, extending the life of key components and the vehicle itself.
- Replace Wipers
No season gives your wipers as much of a workout as winter. Between keeping your windshield clear of snow to cleaning away the grit and dirt that builds up so quickly on busy highways, you’ll want to make sure that your wipers are up to the task of keeping your visibility clear.
You don’t need to replace your wipers every fall, but it is worth checking them before the bad weather comes to make sure they won’t break down just when you need them most.
Few people would say they enjoy winter driving, but as with anything else, preparation can go a long way toward mitigating some of its worst effects. Just as it is important to dress for the weather if you don’t want to freeze, so, too, do you need to make sure your vehicle has everything it needs to face down the challenges and hazards it will face in the months ahead.