With all of the hype of the big snow storm that is hitting the north part of the province, I thought that it would be a benefit to talk about winter car care tips. Because here in Alberta we get some harsh winter weather; the best way to handle it is to be prepared for it.
The cold weather affects your car too. Along with making driving more hazardous due to ice and snow, extreme winter weather can be stressful, especially on older cars.
As winter approaches take your car to your trusty mechanic and have him check the following items: battery, wipers, antifreeze levels, heating system, brakes and defroster.
You'll want to make sure your battery is fully charged as cold weather starting is a heavy drain on your battery. You'll want to make sure that your windshield wipers are in good condition as they'll get a lot of use brushing snow off, and, make sure you have plenty of windshield washer fluid in the reservoir and carry an extra gallon in your car. Your windshield washer fluid will get used up quickly keeping grim off the windshield. You will want to make sure that your antifreeze is at proper levels. Antifreeze can prevent freezing of your engine to about 30 degrees below zero. It should be replaced every two years. Have your heating system checked, this will include your defroster, which you'll really need during the winter.
Make sure you have good tires on your car. It is more important to have good tread on your tires in the snow and ice. Bald tires will have the same effect as a sleigh sliding on the snowy surface. If you live in an area where you get a good amount of snowfall you may want to make a seasonal change from all season to snow tires. All season radials just don't give you the same performance in snow and ice that dedicated snow tires do.
There are things that you should keep in your car during the winter. Snow scraper, de-icer, blankets, extra hat and mittens, small snow shovel, sand (to help with traction), boots. At all times you should have a small first aid kit, booster cables, small tools such as screwdriver, wrench and pliers a flashlight with extra batteries, extra water. Keep a can of de-icer in your home so you'll be able to get into your car.
Remember before leaving home to make sure your car is completely cleaned off. Clear all snow and ice from your hood, roof, trunk and side. Make sure your headlights and tail lights are clearly visible. Drive slowly. The posted speed limits are for ideal driving conditions. When driving leave plenty of stopping distance between you and the car in front of you. You may need to leave more distance in icy conditions. Make any turns slowly. Brake slowly.
By following these tips above you can have a safe winter driving season.