Winter is here in Winnipeg – and it’ll probably be sticking around until late April. Even if you love the cold weather, driving in the winter can be a dangerous proposition, and the harsh elements of wintertime can take a serious toll on your car.
So, in this article, we’ll go over the top tips we’ve found to help you keep your car in great condition this winter, and keep yourself safe while driving in the freezing Winnipeg weather!
1. Make Sure You Get Your Oil Changed
You should always get your oil changed in the winter. Motor oil, like most liquids, thickens when it’s cold outside – and this means that it’s harder for your engine to turn over. Motor oil performance will often be impaired until your engine warms up.
If your motor oil is dirty, it becomes even less effective. You should check your owner’s manual to see what oil is recommended, but you should be looking for an oil with a “W” label on the viscosity index. This indicates that it’s been crafted specifically for winter use.
You should also get your oil filter changed, as well, to ensure that your new oil is able to flow effectively, and will protect your engine, even in the coldest of conditions.
2. Don’t Forget About Winter Tires (And Get Them Replaced If They Need It!)
Some Canadians, like those of us who live in Toronto, probably don’t need winter tires – and can get away with “all-season” tires. But if you live further north in Winnipeg, you’ll probably need to put on your set of winter tires once the snow begins to fall.
Winter-grade tires are built to provide better traction, and offer better braking performance. With advanced rubber that remains pliable at low-temperatures, and deep, heavy-duty tread patterns, they offer you the best possible driving experience in the ice and snow.
However, even if you already have a set of winter tires, you should consider replacing them. They tend to wear out more quickly than all-season tires. Check the depth of the treads with the “penny” test, or by using a tire tread gauge. If it’s less than .16cm, your tires need to be replaced ASAP.
3. Check That Battery!
Cold temperatures can seriously affect battery performance. At -17C, a battery only has about half of the “cold cranking power” (CCP) that it does at 27C. It’s best to get your battery tested by a professional at an auto shop. If it’s low on voltage, you can charge it – but often, this is an indicator that your battery is about to fail.
Typically, you’ll want to replace your battery about every 5 years. And in the freezing Winnipeg winter, it’s better to be safe than sorry – so if there are any signs that your battery is not up to snuff, you should consider replacing it. It’s better to spend a bit of money on a battery than it is to freeze on the side of the highway until your tow truck arrives!
4. Keep Your Windows Clear (And Clean Them To Fight Fog!)
Icy, dirty, and fogged-up windows can be seriously hazardous when driving. To keep your windows clear, you should do a few different things.
First, make sure that your windshield wipers are of good quality, and can clear away mud, snow, and rain effectively. Most windshield wiper blades begin to perform more poorly after just 6 months, and may begin “streaking” or missing parts of your windshield when wiping away mud and rain.
Next, make sure you’ve got plenty of windshield wiper fluid. If you get hit by mud or debris that could impair your vision, windshield wiper fluid is essential for clearing it away safely, and avoiding an accident.
Finally, clean the interior of all of your windows. Foggy windows aren’t just inconvenient in the mornings – they’re dangerous! And fog builds up more quickly on windows that are dirty, so make sure that you wipe your windows down regularly in the winter to combat this.
Stay Safe On The Roads – Follow These Tips!
Driving in the Canadian winter can be a bit of a struggle. But with these tips, you can stay safe out there, and keep your car in tip-top shape.
Need a winter tune-up like an oil change, or new winter tires? Come to Ride Time’s service centre today! We can help you prepare your vehicle for the harshest winter months. Schedule your appointment now.