Winter is, once again, coming to Alberta, and that means getting ready for winter driving; the snow, the ice, the -30C temperatures… all the fun stuff! Getting ready doesn’t have to be hard, and most things you can do yourself. Prepare ahead of time to help prevent winter breakdowns, getting stranded or risking your life out in the cold. Below are some top tips that you can do at home quickly and affordably.
Check Your Fluids
Antifreeze is a necessity when temperatures get down to -30®C. To make sure your vehicle is winter ready, you should get out your manual, check for the location of all your fluid level dipsticks, and ensure everything is topped up. Each dipstick, or fill location, will have an indicator as to whether they are at the proper level. Also remember to put in winterized wiper fluid.
Check Your Wipers
In Canada it is recommended that you change your car's wipers every 18 months or so. Sun, and ice and wreak havoc on wiper materials over time, and so can heavy use. So, if you haven’t changed your wipers in a couple years, you should seriously consider a swap.
Change Your Tires
Summer tires are a big no-no when it comes to driving in the winter, and while all-seasons are okay, they are still not nearly as good as true winter tires. Changing to winter tires on your vehicle is actually quite easy to do if you know how to change a tire normally. The only non-DIY part of changing your tires is that you will need to get them realigned by a professional and torqued, but that doesn’t take much time, and is relatively cheap to do.
Check Your Provisions
In your trunk you should always have a car survival kit, no matter what time of the year it is. Your kit should include several items such as a flashlight, roadside warning light, reflective sign, blankets, tire pump, shelf-stable emergency food, kitty litter (or something else for tire grip in slush/ice), vehicle toolkit, battery booster and a charged power pack for cell phone. During the winter you might consider adding a few pieces of clothing for extra layers in case you are trapped in low temperatures on the side of the road.
A full fuel tank is a good way to keep weight on your vehicle if it has a lower center of mass, instead of putting a ballast in your trunk for weight to improve traction.
Once you’re prepared for winter driving, you’ll be able to enjoy all the winter events going on throughout Alberta with peace of mind!