There’s a saying in Scandinavian countries that there’s no such thing as bad winter weather, just bad clothing. The same can be said for driving in winter weather. Sure, it’s challenging to manoeuvre through Toronto, Vaughan, Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon, Georgetown and any other part of the GTA when the roads and highways are snowy, icy and slushy. But if you are an alert driver who is prepared and maintains their vehicle, then driving in winter weather should be a breeze to you.
How do you achieve that zen-like state of mind when behind the wheel? Having your vehicle properly maintained and cared for over the cold winter months is a great start and here’s what you can do to make that happen:
Premium Car Wash
Since your vehicle is one of the larger financial investments you’ll make in your lifetime, regularly getting your car cleaned at a professional car wash is a smart move, especially in the winter months. The salty brine sprayed on roadways across Ontario coupled with the additional rock salt and sand laid down on roads and sidewalks everywhere can cause serious damage to your vehicle. Having it cleared away from the exterior of your vehicle with a luscious, soft foam wash and fresh water rinse will prevent erosion from taking place. Follow that up with a hand dry to remove streaks and water spots and your car will look like new.
Interior detailing is just as important to prevent salt and moisture build-up beneath the car mats. A full vacuum of all upholstery and wiping down of all the surfaces in your vehicle will prevent damage and also be a more welcoming and hygienic space for you and your passengers to be in.
To maintain your warranty and prolong the life of your vehicle, rust proofing is a worthwhile investment. Whether it’s Diamond Kote and Rust Check you want, the dripless, gel based undercarriage sprays help prevent rusting and repair weather damage to your vehicle. If you haven’t had this applied to your vehicle already, it’s not too late to have it done now.
When dirt builds up in oil, it can become more viscous and abrasive which makes it far less effective as a lubricant and that will cause more wear to your engine. Mechanics will tell you that oil changes are the biggest chore drivers neglect to perform on their vehicle and with costly results, as motor oil lubricates engine components and keeps metal parts from grinding against one another. Scheduling regular oil changes will extend life of your vehicle and maintain the manufacturer’s warranty.
Windshield Repair and Maintenance
If you see a chip on your windscreen, do not ignore it! That little chip can grow into a full sized crack under the weight of one snowfall. What started out as a small blemish that could be easily fixed in as little as 10 minutes, can grow into a far more costly windshield replacement. The sooner you have little chips and cracks addressed the better. Safety must come first and that starts with a clear, unobstructed view while you’re driving.
You may have recently put your winter tires on the vehicle but it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on them in the weeks ahead. Check them regularly for the quality of their tread, if there’s uneven wearing or even cuts or nicks that can easily happen when driving near snowbanks where unseen ice and debris can be lurking. Also be sure to check tire pressure once a month and rotate tires as recommended. Under-inflated tires are dangerous especially when driving in poor road conditions and along with poorly aligned wheels, makes your engine work harder and that makes your vehicle burn through gasoline quicker. Also make sure to check your spare tire in the trunk and test the jack so that you know it’s in good working condition.
It’s bad enough when your car breaks down, it’s even worse when it happens in the winter. You never know if it will happen in the city or in a rural area, far from a gas station so it pays to be prepared. Your emergency kit should include extra gloves, boots and blankets. Flares, a small shovel and sand or kitty litter are good. Tire chains, a flashlight, extra batteries, an extra car charger and snacks are also important to have.