Whether you have been driving for a short period of time or for decades of your life, the fact remains that the basics of winter road safety are not strictly adhered to by everyone. The reasons vary from an over-inflated sense of security or confidence to downright ignorance or a lack of understanding how a vehicle reacts in challenging road and weather conditions. Regardless, it is up to you to maintain the safety of your vehicle and all the passengers riding in it. So whether you’re driving through Mississauga, Brampton, Toronto, Vaughan, Georgetown, Caledon or any other part of the GTA, do yourself and everyone else a favour this winter and keep this checklist in mind throughout the season!
Probably the easiest and least stressful way to protect your vehicle from the ravages of road salt erosion is by getting luxury car washes. By luxury, we mean soft foam technology that is a gentle but effective treatment to rid the exterior of your vehicle from salt, sand and pollution build-up that is all too common this time of year. That gets followed by a fresh water rinse and hand dry to make sure there are no spots, streaks or remaining salt residue. And don’t forget a wax treatment to provide a barrier of protection between the paint and the harsh wind and road debris.
Lighting is something we don’t think about that much but since winter is the darkest time of the year for us, it’s critical to make sure all exterior light bulbs are burning their brightest and the car wash will make sure all the protective casing around them will be clean and clear as well.
Making sure the inside of your vehicle is clean and salt-free is just as important. Salt and snow on the bottom of your shoes and boots melts away and can leak under the mats and soak into the carpeting and start to eat away at parts of your car. Interior detailing provides a thorough cleaning, vacuuming and wiping down of all the surfaces inside your vehicle to keep it hygienic and free from salt erosion.
Only your mechanic knows what goes on underneath your vehicle but one way to protect all the vulnerable metal components on the undercarriage is a rustproofing treatment. Whether you choose a Diamond Kote or Rust Check solution, the gel based, dripless formulas will give the underside of your vehicle much needed protection from weather-related damage that can happen with prolonged salt exposure over the winter months. Getting it done means one less thing to worry about!
Windshield Inspection and Repair
Windshield chips and cracks should never be ignored, no matter how minor they may appear! With all the road debris flying at your windscreen in the winter and the heavy duty scraping it endures to remove ice from it, it’s easy for little nicks and chips in the glass to happen. But it doesn’t take much at all for those seemingly innocent chips to turn into a full on crack or full break of the windshield. Because your windscreen is a major component of maintaining a vehicle’s structural integrity, it’s under an enormous amount of pressure at all times. Factor in the weight of a heavy snowfall or even the intensity of arctic air beating down on it relentlessly during a storm and it’s not hard to imagine how easily a minor blemish in the glass could turn into a full blown catastrophe. It’s far quicker and cheaper to have chips fixed than it is to have to schedule a full-on windshield replacement. That’s stress you just don’t need and it is easy to avoid.
Emergency Safety Kit
It’s always better to be safe than sorry and being a prepared motorist is one of the best ways to always have an enjoyable traveling experience. Being ready and able to anticipate is key to safe driving but the unforeseen can sometimes happen and you may find yourself with a broken down vehicle. Even if you live in the city, it’s critical to have an emergency safety kit within easy access inside your vehicle at all times. It’s easy to put together and should include a blanket, extra gloves, a first aid kit, some snacks and water. A flashlight, knife and jumper cables along with a cellphone charger, de-icer spray and a map are also useful to have on hand at all times.
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