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Tips for winterizing your vehicle

With summer in the rear-view mirror and Jack Frost knocking at the door, it’s time to think about winterizing your car — before you see the first snowflakes falling.

With summer in the rear-view mirror and Jack Frost knocking at the door, it’s time to think about winterizing your car — before you see the first snowflakes falling. Here are some winterizing tips from Bill Hume, vice-president of Hankook Tire Canada, and Henry Blumenthal, chief underwriter with TD Insurance.


Change your oil
The change in seasonal temperatures may also dictate changing to a thinner viscosity engine oil to more efficiently lubricate moving parts in colder conditions, says Hume. Check your car’s owner manual for fluid recommendations.


Check your wiper blades
Typically winter means reduced visibility, says Blumenthal. Check your wiper blades and invest in winter windshield washer fluid — it won’t freeze when you need it the most.


Check your battery
With cold weather comes increased power demands: defrosters, windshield wipers and heating systems can really take a toll on your car battery, says Hume. If you notice that your vehicle’s headlights get brighter once you start the engine, more extensive battery tests may be needed.


Invest in winter tires
Consider investing in winter tires or replacing your all-seasons. Worn, bald or badly aligned or balanced tires can mean accidents on ice, rain or snow, says Blumenthal. By paying just a few more dollars, you will be saving in the long term. In addition, winter tires are mandatory in some provinces.


A few more tips:



  • Blumenthal: Pack an emergency kit for your trunk, including items you would need if you were stranded, such as blankets, candles and a first-aid kit.

  • Hume: Stay alert, slow down and stay in control — the three key elements of safe winter driving.

 
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