Most commonly overlooked winter car maintenance tips

As the colder weather rolls around, it’s important to stay on top of your car maintenance to protect your vehicle and ensure it runs smoothly all season long. Here Jodi Lai, editor-in-chief at shares her checklist of top winter car care tips that can’t be overlooked.

It’s absolutely necessary to invest in winter tires, even if your vehicle has all-wheel drive. Designed with more aggressive tread patterns and softer, more pliable compound, winter tires provide improved traction on cold and slippery surfaces. Make sure to check the wear of your winter tires, if there’s not enough tread left, they won’t be able to do their job effectively. They should also be well pressurized and inflated. Rapid temperature fluctuations can dramatically impact your tire pressure and driving with low pressure can negatively impact your mileage and tires’ ability to grip ice and snow. Conduct a battery test to measure capacity and get it replaced if it isn’t up to the mark. Resist the urge to skimp on a regular vehicle inspection, which is integral to getting your suspension, brakes and overall car health checked.

Visibility can be a major issue during the snowy season, so do everything you can to avoid adding to the problem. Treat the outside of all your windows with a water-repelling solution, which helps ensure better visibility during wet weather. Clean your headlights and taillights and replace bulbs for maximum light assistance, and consider fitting winter wiper blades. Wiper blades should typically be replaced at least twice a year for maximum efficiency.

Check antifreeze and inspect the thermostat and radiator cap. Check that all necessary vehicle fluids are topped up and try replacing engine coolants every two years. Make sure you examine the oil levels and consider switching to synthetic oil to enhance flow even in low temperatures. Check your owner manual to confirm that you are using the right oil for optimal engine performance.

Prepare an emergency road kit in an event of breakdown. Include essentials like a shovel, booster cables, blanket, warm clothing, gloves and flashlight, among other necessities. If you reuse the same kit every year, remember to check that the items are still functional.

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See tips on a winter safety kit, below.

NVN’s 2021 Winter Car Care Spotlight is brought to you with the support of Perry’s Autobody, Chesterville, 613-448-3324; Curran Automotive, Chesterville, 613-448-2388; Winchester Autopro (Winchester Automotive), 613-774-3189; D&D Performance, Chesterville, 613-448-3502; D’s Collision, Winchester, 613-774-2733; Mr. Radiator Auto Service, Alexandria, 613-525-3752; Bill’s Towing & Recovery, Morrisburg, 613-802-0729; and Troy Wilson Automotive, 613-558-4752.

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