Unlike many species native to Canada, humans don’t tend to hibernate in the winter. Although there are snowbirds that can’t wait to migrate to warmer southern climates, most Canadians take pride in their ability to endure and thrive when the snow flies. The only real challenge is driving.
While there’s not much we can do to avoid the snow, we can take proactive steps to ensure your vehicle is mechanically ready and fully equipped to help avoid accidents. And according to Josh Adams, office manager at Dettmer Tire and Auto Centre in downtown Guelph, October is the right time to schedule to take action.
“Scheduling your vehicle for a general maintenance check over is the best way to winterize it,” said Adams. “That includes a full inspection and services like an oil change to keep your engine running smooth, topping up fluids like antifreeze and windshield washer.”
One of the major steps in getting your vehicle ready is swapping out your tires to ensure your vehicle is riding on the safest tires available for the season. This process actually serves two purposes according to Adams.
“When you have the tires off it provides a great opportunity to check other vehicle systems like your suspension, your brakes, and the overall state of the underside of your car,” he said.
When it comes to the tires there are many different options available including all seasons, all weather, and dedicated winter tires. Adams says choosing the right one for your needs depends on the amount of driving you do and the kind of protection you want for you, your passengers, and your vehicle.
“The all season tire is basically a summer tire that you can get by on in the winter, however once the temperature goes negative, they lose some of their grip and stopping ability” said Adams. “A winter tire is a very specifically designed tire that offers optimized performance for winter. It helps you get through the ice and snow and will come with a three-peak mountain snowflake rating on it. The all-weather tire is basically i winter tire that you can get by using in the summer, it also comes 3 peak mountain snowflake rating. The dedicated winter tire is the one that greatly reduces stopping distance in the winter. If you’re doing a lot of highway driving it's probably better to have an all season tire set and a winter tire set to ensure safety in both seasons.”
The type of tire you choose can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check with your insurance company to identify the correct install and removal dates to qualify. Oil changes are also a vital part of your pre-winter maintenance, and if you’re the DIY type Adams says it’s important you choose the right oil and quantity for your vehicle.
“For most current vehicle makes and models, the proper oil is identified on the oil cap. There’s no real need to use a different viscosity in the winter.”
As important as your preventative maintenance checkup can be to ensuring a winter of safe driving, there are other important steps you can take to be ready to hit the road this winter. Check to ensure your vehicle has an emergency kit fully stocked with things like blankets, sleeping bags, extra clothing, jumper cables, emergency lights, fully charged batteries and even snacks. Winter weather is unpredictable, and you want to be prepared should you get stuck during a winter storm. Ensure you have a high-quality scraper/snow brush combo and a shovel to remove any snow from off your car and around your vehicle.
Installing new wipers and keeping extra washer fluid in your truck is another highly recommended tip. Stocking your car with a cell-phone charger or solar charger for your phone is equally helpful. It’s also important to keep your gas tank full throughout the winter to avoid being in a situation where you’re running low on fuel and unable to get to a gas station.
To ensure your peace of mind motoring this winter, book your seasonal tire swap and winter maintenance inspection today at either of the two locations of Dettmer Tire, 325 Eramosa Road or 23 Cork Street East in Guelph. Visit them online here.