Ready for Winter? Winterize Your Vehicle!

Posted: 2016-10-10 by Savasta Auto in preventive maintenance
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In Ottawa, one of the coldest capitol cities in the world, it is important to prepare your vehicle and you for the winter. These ideas will help to make your frozen travels smoother and might even save your life.

Some people can take care of these things themselves. That’s great. Others prefer us to take care of it for them. All these items are included in our Seasonal Inspection Maintenance!

Tires. In Ontario, you can use all-season radials or snow tires. Of the two, snow tires provide the best traction over snow and ice. For all-season radials, ensure the tread depth is sufficient. The minimum legal tread depth in Ontario  is 1.5 mm. Would you drive your family around on the legal minimum? Neither would we. We carry all brands and models of tires.

Tire pressure. Good tires are not enough. Correct pressure ensures optimum traction, control and fuel efficiency. As the weather cools, tire pressure naturally decreases. THe recommended pressure is written on the tire firewall.

Brakes. Ensure your brake pads and rotors have sufficient material left and are not visibly pitted, rusted, or scored.

Steering linkages. Despite having the best tires at the right pressure, steering control is affected by all parts of the steering system. Ensure there are no loose steering linkages, bent parts, or overly worn parts.

Oil. Try to plan your oil changes so that you do one around December. Some vehicle manufacturers suggest a thinner oil in the winter because oil thickens in the cold. Check your owner’s manual for guidance about which oil to use in different climates and temperatures. We recommend synthetic oil because it retains its molecular structure under extreme conditions, remains more fluid in cold temperatures, and remains on the cylinder walls (less bleed down into the oil pan) for smoother cold-temperature starts.

Antifreeze. Use mixed antifreeze, not just water! Use an antifreeze tester to verify the mixture. We aim for -45° C.

Battery. Most batteries these days are maintenance free. Ensure the battery posts and connections are clean. Perform amperage, voltage, and resistance (AVR) tests to ensure that it will hold a charge and deliver the power you need when you need it.

Belts and hoses. Belts and hoses stiffen in the cold. Cracks or bulges could turn into a break during a cold start.

Heater/defroster. Ensure that it generates warm air quickly. Slow heating or no heat can be a symptom of a stuck thermostat, low coolant, wrong coolant mixture, or blocked heater core, all of which are inexpensive to correct.

Wiper blades. Ensure they provide a clean sweep across the whole windshield. Generally change them annually

Windshield washer fluid. Ensure your windshield washer reservoir is full with windshield washer fluid rated to -40° C. DO NOT use water – it freezes.

Other

Keep the gas tank full and use gas line antifreeze to reduce condensation in the gas lines and prevent them from freezing.

If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, ensure it works correctly and smoothly. In the winter, you might just need it!

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