Now that winter is well on its way, one of the things on my to-do list is to make sure the vehicles are prepared. Even if you’re only driving in the city, it just makes good sense to take a little time to ensure that you have some backup in case you have a breakdown in the coldest of temperatures.
I like to make sure that my vehicles are in good working condition for the winter, so I make it a rule to book an appointment with my mechanic in the fall for a tune up. He also checks all my belts and hoses to make sure everything is up to snuff.
There’s plenty of things that I do myself, and first on my list is changing to my winter tires. I know some people run all-season radials all year round, but it has been my experience that nothing can beat a set of good winter tires when the road conditions are less than favourable.
Second, I check all my coolant levels and test my antifreeze to make sure that I’m good to at least -35C. It doesn’t usually get that cold around here, but I like to leave a good margin for error.
Third, I make sure to have a couple of gallons on hand of winter window washer. When the road is slushy, your windshield can sure muck up in a hurry and you should be able to clean it off as quickly as possible.
Next, I find my snow scrapper and put it in the car. One year the kids gave me one of those kind with the mitt attached to keep your hands warm while taking the snow off. I’ve appreciated it more than once, I’ll tell you!
Last, I put together my winter emergency car kit. The Government of Canada has a list of things they recommend you carry at all times in your vehicle in the winter time.
Food That won't spoil, such as energy bars
Water In plastic bottles so they won't break if frozen (change every six months)
Extra clothing and shoes
First aid kit With seatbelt cutter
Small shovel, scraper and snowbrush
Candle in a deep can and matches
Whistle In case you need to attract attention
Copy of your emergency plan and personal documents
In your trunk you should have:
Sand, salt or cat litter (non clumping)
Antifreeze/windshield washer fluid
Warning light or road flares