Now that winter is here, Windsor Ford and a team of experts from our Service Department and Parts Department have joined heads and created this list of must-do items to ensure your vehicle can handle the snow and cold. After all, breaking down isn’t fun regardless of the time of year, but suffering mechanical failure during the winter makes things exponentially more unpleasant.
Pack an Emergency Kit
Nobody plans on getting stuck out in the cold, but it can happen to the best of us. Be prepared by packing an emergency kit with some warm blankets, a flashlight with spare batteries, a first aid kit, some non-perishable snacks, a small shovel, jumper cables, and heating packs or warm clothes for extra warmth. This list may seem extreme, but as a wise-man once said: it is better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.
Replace Your Wiper Blades
During winter months we ask a lot of our wiper blades. Between the freezing temperatures and constant dirt and gravel from the road, wear-and-tear on your wipers increases exponentially. Make sure your wipers are in top condition before the cold sets in by replacing them with high-quality, affordable blades. It’s also never a bad idea to top up your wiper fluid with a winter blend that won’t freeze in the cold.
Check Your Battery
Just like your wipers, your car’s battery also gets a serious workout. The cold climate has a draining effect on batteries, plus your engine requires more juice to start when cold. These two factors combine to kill many batteries during the winter months. So if your battery is old, have our Service Department give it a quick check to ensure it’s still holding enough charge to get you through the winter.
Avoid Short Trips
In the cold of winter, your battery uses a lot of juice to start your vehicle. Normally your alternator replenishes this used power, but that takes time. Short trips don’t give your alternator enough time to return your vehicle’s battery to fully charged, meaning each subsequent start drains more and more of the battery until their isn’t enough to start your vehicle again.
Brush Off Your Roof
Removing snow from your vehicle’s roof not only helps others because it doesn’t blow off when driving and cause problems for other drivers, but benefits you as well. If snow is left to build up on the roof it can cause condensation to build up on the inside of the metal roof where you can’t see it. This can actually cause water dripping and water damage to the vehicle headliner in severe cases. Also melted snow from the roof and door areas can get into door jambs and weatherstrips causing them to freeze up.
Keep Your Windows Up
Try to avoid using your power windows in extreme cold. They may be frozen shut and something may break or, at the very least, they are likely to move slowly and stiffly. Realize that lowering a power window below -25℃ is running the risk of not getting it back up again. So be gentle!
Turn Off Your Wipers
If you are parking your vehicle outside for the night, be sure to turn off the windshield wipers. That way when you start it in the morning, the wipers won’t come on before you have had a chance to make sure they are not frozen to the windshield. Gently pinch the rubber blade itself and gently break it free from the glass. Don’t just grab the wiper arm and pull or you risk tearing the rubber blade.
Winter is here whether we want it or not, so follow our simple checklist to prepare your car, truck, or SUV right now. You’ll be thanking yourself all winter long as your vehicle effortlessly cruises through the snow and cold of Alberta!