Preparing your vehicle for winter

In severe weather, it's key that your vehicle be in good working order.  Winter weather is hard on your vehicle. Keep your vehicle in top working condition by following its manufacturer-defined maintenance schedule. You can find more information in the owner's manual for your vehicle.

In addition to regular maintenance, you can bring your vehicle to a licensed facility for a winter inspection. Newer vehicles have systems that require a repair facility to check that they're working properly.

A check-up by a trained technician will help make sure no important items are missed. This inspection can include:

  • Battery
    • Making sure the motor is in good working order. Motors need a fully charged battery to start in cold weather
    • Cleaning the battery posts and checking the charging system and belts
    • Replacing weak batteries before they fail
  • Lights
    • Making sure that all lights work and that the headlights are adjusted properly
    • Making sure that the headlights are in the proper position. Many new vehicles aim headlights automatically, so they need to be inspected by a professional to ensure they're in the right position
  • Brakes
    • Doing a thorough brake check to make sure they're in top working condition. Pulling, a change in pedal feel, or unusual squealing or grinding may mean that the brakes need repair
  • Exhaust system
    • Checking for leaks that could send deadly carbon monoxide into the vehicle
  • Heating and cooling system 
    • Checking the radiator hoses and drive belts for cracks and leaks
    • Making sure the radiator cap, water pump, and thermostat work properly
    • Testing the strength and level of the coolant/anti-freeze, and making sure the heater and defroster work well
  • Windshield wipers
    • Making sure that wipers are in good condition and replace blades that streak
    • Using wipers designed for winter
    • Filling up on winter washer fluid in the -40°C temperature range and carry an extra jug in the vehicle
  • Tires:
    • Making sure the tires are at the correct pressure
    • Making sure winter tires have at least 4mm tread depth for the safest winter driving. Learn more about using winter tires  

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