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Prepare your vehicle early for winter driving season

Simple preventative maintenance will help keep your vehicle running all winter

A little TLC goes a long way. That’s true in relationships, and it’s true in your relationship with your vehicle. Today’s vehicles are engineered with all sorts of advanced technology not available from auto manufacturers even a decade ago. That often makes it hard for the average driver to do DIY maintenance. However, it’s still the little things that keep your vehicles running smoothly, especially in the winter. 

“One very simple things people can do themselves prior to winter is to check the quality of your wipers,” said Vince Klimkosz, owner of the two locations of Vinnie’s Mr. Fix-it in Guelph. “Often times in the summer the wipers deteriorate and aren’t in very good condition.”

To inspect your wipers, Klimkosz suggests you start by lifting them up off the window to determine the state of the rubber. Any sign of worn out rubber means the wiper should be replaced. Next, test to ensure there is sufficient pressure when the wiper is adjacent to the glass, and check to ensure the wiper’s pivot is still functioning and not seized.  

The next simple DIY maintenance anyone can do is to pop the hood and check the levels and quality of your fluids. 

“Make sure the antifreeze strength is sufficient for winter cold and still in good condition,” said Klimkosz. “If you’ve been running with summer washer fluid, make sure you switch it up with winter fluid so it doesn’t freeze. Also, check your brake fluid and oil level. If the oil’s hasn’t been changed in a while, it’s good to have it changed prior to winter.”

There are things that Klimkosz suggests might be better suited for a professional mechanic to inspect. These include a thorough inspection of belts and hoses along with a test of your radiator. Having your battery tested is another simple think to do that can save you from big headaches on a cold winter morning. 

“A simple battery test is something most shops will do very quickly,” he said. “Most batteries should last your four or five years depending on the quality of the battery and the demands on it. Anything older than that and you’re gambling.”

One of the most important elements involved in getting your car ready for winter is checking your tires. Air pressure can drop when cold weather starts to creep in during the fall, so Klimkosz recommends a tire check or, ideally, to switch to a set of snow tires.

“Snow tires are a really good investment,” he said. “It’s always best to have winter tires on their own separate rims as well. That saves you the cost of unnecessary mounting and balancing when you have to switch out the tires to the same rims. It may seem costly at first, but you’ll see savings over time.”

The final thing Klimkosz recommends you check is all your lights. 

“You always see people driving with one headlight or one taillight out, or signals that don’t work. You definitely want all your lights working in the winter, especially if you’re driving in white-out conditions.”

For more information or to book your pre-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.