Winter weather is hard on your vehicle. This year, winter has been fairly mild thus far, however it's possible that colder temperatures are on the way. It is important that you go to a licensed facility to conduct a vehicle winterization inspection in addition to regular maintenance. A check-up by a trained technician will help ensure no important items are missed.
Your motor needs a fully charged battery to start in cold weather. Clean the battery posts and check the charging system and belts. Have your battery tested in the fall and spring. Replace weak batteries before they fail.
Make sure that all lights work and that the headlights are adjusted properly. Many new vehicles aim headlights automatically so they need to be inspected by a professional to ensure they remain in the proper position.
Keep your brakes in top working condition with regular inspection by a certified technician, according to your vehicle maintenance schedule (you can find this in the owner's manual). Check your brakes often to make sure that they brake evenly. Pulling, change in pedal feel, or unusual squealing or grinding may mean they need repair.
- Exhaust system
Check for leaks that could send deadly carbon monoxide into your vehicle.
- Heating and cooling system
Check your radiator hoses and drive belts for cracks and leaks. Make sure the radiator cap, water pump, and thermostat work properly. Test the strength and level of the coolant/anti-freeze, and make sure the heater and defroster work well.
- Windshield wipers
Ensure that your vehicle's wipers are in good condition, and replace blades that streak. Buy wipers designed for winter. Fill up on winter washer fluid in the -40°C temperature range, and carry an extra jug in your vehicle.
It's a good idea to keep a cold-weather survival kit in your vehicle. Include a candle and matches; water; non-perishable food; a first aid kit; flares or reflectors; booster cables and a shovel; an ice scraper; warm clothes; boots; and blankets.
Ensure your winter tires have at least 50 per cent tread left for the safest winter driving.
A tire that has good pressure when checked in a warm garage will be under-inflated when it is below zero outside. Tire pressure goes down in the cold, which is why you should do your checks when the tires are cold. Use the maximum pressure amount shown in the owner's manual or on the doorframe as a guide, but never go above the pressure shown on the tire sidewall. Check your spare tire pressure regularly as well.
Never mix tires with different tread patterns, internal construction, or size.
Winter tire symbol
Winter tires have been designed for snow. They're marked with a symbol on the side-wall: a peaked mountain with a snowflake. They meet high standards for winter traction performance and are different than “mud + snow” (M+S) rated snow tires. In Manitoba, studded tires can be used between October 1st and April 30th.
If you have any questions about getting your vehicle prepped for winter, speak to a safety advisor! You can call us in Winnipeg at 204-775-3171 or in Brandon at 204-728-3456.