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How to Prepare Your Vehicle for the Winter

Nov. 17, 2021
5 mins
A woman brushes snow off her silver vehicle

Canadian winters demand you take extra caution on the road and with your car. Don't get caught unprepared. It's time to schedule a visit with your mechanic to do a tune-up and inspection of your vehicle now before we're knee-deep in snow.

Be Car Care Aware (BCAA) is a program operated by the Automotive Industry Association of Canada to help drivers know how to better care for their vehicles. To ensure you're ready to roll when the snow flies, the BCAA recommends you (or your mechanic) check your vehicle's:

  • Engine oil, coolant, power steering, brake, and transmission fluids
  • Hoses and belts, to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, or loose
  • Battery, to ensure connections are clean, tight, and free of corrosion
  • Brake system, including the brake linings, rotors, and drums
  • Exhaust system, to look for leaks, damage, or broken components
  • Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system to ensure the vehicle's defrost function works properly
  • Steering and suspension system, including shock absorbers, struts, as well as chassis components
  • Tires, including tire pressure, treads, and wear
  • Lighting (inside and out), to ensure you can see and will be seen

DIY winter vehicle maintenance

While there are certain things you'll want your mechanic to do for you, there are a few items that you can take on yourself to ensure you're ready for the winter:

  • Buy a fresh jug of windshield wiper fluid that's specific for winter use, as it won't freeze as easily.
  • Replace your wiper blades with a set of winter wipers that are sturdier.
  • Take your winter car safety kit out of hiding. With a few basic items handy in your car — like jumper cables, a flashlight, first-aid kit, extra clothes and food, and a bag of sand for traction — you could find yourself getting back on the road quicker if you run into problems.
  • Keep an eye on the weather and the date if you change your tires seasonally. Generally, it's recommended that winter tires be installed when the temperatures dip to 7 C. However, for insurance purposes, they should typically be on the car from November until May.

Also, if you change your tires seasonally make sure your auto insurance provider knows. Many insurance companies offer a winter tire discount that, if available, could help you save up to 5% on your premium.

Does your car insurance need a tune-up, too?

Your car insurance may also need some regular maintenance.Compare car insurance quotes today to see if you can get the coverage you need at a price that won't give you the chills.

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The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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