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Here's how to stay safe, reduce hassle while driving this winter

Vinnie's Mr. Fix-It recommends always being prepared for an emergency
Winter driving 2

There’s no harder season on you and your car than winter. The elements include an unpredictable mix of cold, rain, sleet, slush, snow, and ice, the anti-slide salt and sand is corrosive, the potholes are plentiful and the ability of other drivers on the road seems to be in constant decline.

The last things you want to deal with in the winter are small mechanical annoyances that only get more annoying when you’re standing outside in a snowstorm trying to fix them. That’s why you should follow these helpful tips provided by Vince Klimkosz, owner of the two locations of Vinnie’s Mr. Fix-it in Guelph.

“With winter coming, one thing you definitely want to do is a good light inspection,” said Klimkosz. “If a bulb’s going to blow it usually happens when the weather’s getting colder. It’s why you see a lot of cars with one headlight. Turn your lights on, get out of the car and do a little walkaround to ensure they’re all working. While you’re at it, check to ensure all your tires are inflated.”

Wipers blades are a vital piece of equipment in the winter, which is why Klimkosz says it’s important to replace them. “They should be changed at minimum once every one to two years. They do wear out and they take a lot of abuse. A lot of times people use them as ice scrapers to scrape their windows. They don’t usually fare to well. As for using products like RainX to cover your windows, Klimkosz says it’s probably a waste of money. “Some of those products can help, but I haven’t seen anything that’s a true miracle in keeping your windows free of ice and snow. What I’ve found works best is simply starting the vehicle, put the defroster on, let it warm up, and then take out the ice scarper.”

Speaking of ice scrapers, Klimkosz says it’s a good idea to invest in a high quality winter scraper. “Many SUV and minivans have a high roof,” he said. “Get yourself a snow brush that can extend to reach the snow on the roof. It’s dangerous to leave it there. A lot of time it can melt and freeze, which can be dangerous to other drivers if it goes flying off the roof. It can damage other vehicles or cause accidents. Be sure to keep all snow off your roof and your lights.”

Keeping your windshield fluid topped up is always a good idea according to Klimkosz, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. “The regular blue fluid good to minus 40 or 50 is all you need. There are so many variations that cost more. They’re like snake oil. A lot of people buy them because it sounds good. Really, they all do the same thing.”

Freezing locks and doors can be a major pain in the winter. Klimkosz offers a simple solution to help eliminate the risk. “One thing that works well is dipping a rag in antifreeze and simply rubbing all the door seals. It seems to work well. If you have locks that freeze put some graphite lube in there. It won’t need much.”

If you have any cracks in your windows, Klimkosz says it’s important to get them repaired prior to the cold weather. “A lot of times with a crack in the window, a little water gets in and will freeze, causing a crack across the whole window. If you notice stone chips or cracks, have them filled right away.”

One final item is to always be prepared for an emergency. Klimkosz suggest that starts with keeping your interior clean. “Take out anything in the car or trunk that can freeze and explode in the car. Also, purchase an emergency kit in case you get stuck, one with stuff that can help you survive. Most kits include a flashlight, emergency flairs, a first aid kit, and booster cables.”

For more information or to book your winter maintenance, visit Vinnie’s Mr. Fix-It online at Or drop by either of their two Guelph locations: 30 Hayes Avenue, or 41 Woodlawn Road West.