|Winter car care... when Old Man Winter visits, he likes Canada so much, he stays for over 5 months. Some parts of Ontario are covered with thick, beautiful blanket of white snow most of that time.
Unfortunately, the same snow is not so nice on our roads... But what can we do? We learn to live with it and, try to stay safe.
Before you even sit behind a wheel of the car, and venture onto slick roads, please make sure that your car is ready for the cold season. Car care is more important now, then ever.
The list of car care items permanently housed in your car, during winter time should include a snow brush, windshield scraper and shovel, booster cables, thermal blanket, nutritious power bars, change of clothing for kids, additional hat and gloves for you and emergency candles, as well as the “call police” sign and a flash light. All those items will come in handy in an emergency. If you have that ready, lets see what else you need to do before you leave the driveway. car care
First the tires , do not believe that your "all seasons" will cut it in here. You need good quality winter tires
or snow tires
. If you don’t believe me, go sliding down the hill in your car with no control whatsoever toward the busy intersection at the bottom of that hill. That will convince you right away… MY winter tires were on the same evening! To make the right choice use the Tire Rack's Tire Decision Guide to find the tire performance category that's best for your vehicle and the roads you drive on. car care
Other things to check for, by yourself or through your mechanic should include the
battery , levels of
antifreeze , and
windshield fluids, the wipers and their condition, check out the
PIAA Super Sporza Silicone Wipers
for best performance during harsh, winter conditions. car care
Ignition, and break systems should also be checked as well as the thermostat, and all lights: high beams, road, stop and flashing hazard lights should all be in working order.
Other systems in your car that need your attention, now more then ever include: exhaust system, heater, and defroster. Before each longer trip you must also check the oil level. For winter driving SAE 10w/30 oil should be used.car care
It is also a good idea to protect the finish of your car from top to bottom, before the first snowfall. But forget the old, time consuming wax and polish techniques. It’s time to leave them behind and check other, easier options.car care
Rust Proofing is also one of the best things you can do to preserve the underside of your vehicle form falling apart after couple of salt and snow loaded winters. car care
Some experts will suggest that it is acceptable to use “all season” tires for winter driving. It may be true in areas where snow fall is minimal and not very often. In Canada, however, where an average snow storm will dump mountains of snow on city roads, we should not even consider any thing other than winter or snow tires. Snow tires available on the market today, surpass the tires of yesterday in every aspect. They may be less effective on wet surface, but in out climate we do not get rain in winter as often as we encounter snow. If you are all set and ready for winter driving with your winter tires on, please take caution on wet pavement and allow for longer stopping distance.car care
Another, very important aspect of winter tire purchase is the fact that you must get four of them. It is no longer recommended to purchase two tires and install them on the “drive” wheels only. If you choose to do this, you are reducing the effectiveness of the snow tire performance. To predict, to some extent, the behavior of your car in snowy conditions and maintain the same or similar behavior of all four wheels, you do need for tires of the same type. Mixing tire types, models, as well as using brand new tires together with the old, worn ones, will make your winter drive more difficult and the performance ability of your car unpredictable.car care
Something that should never, ever be considered is winter driving on your summer performance tires. That decision could cost you your life. The summer tires are built for hot, summer conditions.car care
The correct Tire Pressure for winter conditions is very important. Understanding the facts will help you avoid starting the winter drive with under-inflated tires. Tires will lose about 1 pound psi (per square inch) of pressure each month and about 1 psi for each 10-degree drop in temperature. Keeping that in mind, pleas make sure, that you do check the tire pressure, every few weeks, before you go on the road. car care
It is a good idea to keep some sand or even some clay-based cat litter in the trunk for those unfortunate situations when you do get stuck in the snow. In older cars and the newer models without traction control and back wheel drive, the added benefit of a heavier trunk will allow greater stability and improved traction.car care
Back to top of Winter Car Care
Battery and Charging System
Batteries lose power as temperature falls, so it may have not enough power to start a cold engine, even if it worked fine a month ago. It is a good idea to have your mechanic test it. If you thing you may need a new one, go get it now, don’t wait until you freeze by the side of the road waiting for someone to give you a boost. Always keep your booster cables in your car, just in case.car care
The coolant flowing through your radiator to cool the engine in the summer is a mixture of antifreeze and water, and it has a nice fluorescent green color. The normal proportion would be 50% of each. If that ratio is correct, the mixture can handle freezing temperatures up to about 35 degrees C below O (or -30F).
It is crucial that the ratio of antifreeze and water is correct. If for some reason you have more water that coolant, get ready for trouble in winter paradise.
Fluid may freeze and block the thermostat or hoses, the effects may be devastating, as the engine can overheat resulting in internal engine block damage. To avoid a costly disaster, all you need is a proportion measuring device. And if you are one of those people who don’t really know where the engine is located, and they don’t care… just ask your mechanic, to check the ratio and level for you. It is also a good idea to change the coolant every couple of years. For safety reasons, please do not ever touch any parts under the hood, while the car is running or if it has not cooled down.
Windshield Wipers and Fluid
Let’s start on the outside of you car- the wipers, please get the quality product intended for snow and ice, they are equipped with a cover that prevents the ice from sticking to the wiper blade. Remember that visibility is essential. Change your wipers prior to the first snow fall. Another excellent choice for winter, are wiper blades made of Silicone based product like the
PIAA Super Sporza Silicone Wipers
. If you need to park your car outside over night, please make sure that you flip the wiper blades out. That will prevent them from freezing to the windshield and getting you angry and frustrated while you try to get them moving again. car care
Always check your washer system and fluid level before you leave the house, especially if you are not the only one using your car. For winter driving, use anti-freezing windshield washer fluid and never dilute it unless it is a concentrated product. Don’t forget to take an extra bottle with you, so you never have to throw snow on the windshield by the side of the road, again to get it back to the original, transparent state.
The damage done to your car just by winter driving can be quite substancial, to learn more about this, please read the following article:
Winter's Potholes, Icy Roads Can Jar Your Vehicle Out of Alignment
(ARA) - Each winter, thousands of drivers have at least one encounter with a seemingly bottomless pothole. Others have "minor" collisions with curbs and other obstacles as a result of icy road conditions. And many -- perhaps even most - experience both over the course of a typical winter.
What these drivers might not realize is that virtually any pothole, curb or other road hazard can take a nasty toll on a vehicle's steering and suspension system. In fact, just one impact can jar the vehicle out of alignment and potentially damage safety-critical chassis parts.
Sure signs that your vehicle's steering and suspension needs to be re-aligned, and could require replacement of one or more steering and suspension parts, include:
* Steering Wheel off-center
* Loose steering
* Steering wander (difficulty holding the vehicle on a consistent path)
* A pull to either side
* Chassis vibration at certain speeds
* Increased road-induced noise, vibration or harshness
* Uneven tire wear
"A proper alignment requires replacement of any worn or damaged components within the steering and suspension system," says Kristen Phipps, brand manager for Moog Chassis Parts. "These parts can affect your driving safety, so take your professional technician's service recommendation very seriously."
It's also a good idea to make sure your technician uses a brand of replacement parts in which you can have confidence. "This is a great way to reinforce your expectation that the job will be done right, with the best products for your vehicle," Phipps adds.
Most professional technicians specify Moog steering and suspension components for their customers' -- as well as their own -- vehicles. Developed and tested in partnership with leading NASCAR teams, Moog products engineered to deliver smoother operation through the part's full range of motion, resulting in more precise and responsive steering. Not surprisingly, Moog chassis parts have been the choice of NASCAR Cup champions for 38 consecutive years.
Ask your local service provider if it's time to re-align your vehicle. If he or she recommends replacement of any steering and suspension part, don't hesitate to have the repair completed. After all, your driving safety could be at stake. Moog is the only choice to do it right.
Courtesy of ARA Content