winter driving tips

WINTER DRIVING TIPS FROM YOUR MECHANIC

When the weather outside is frightful, a little advance preparation will take the scare out of winter driving. At Eastside Auto Service we recommend taking a few preventive vehicle maintenance steps to help keep you from being stranded in severe winter weather.

A breakdown, an engine not starting or any issue that leaves you stranded is scary. When it happens in freezing winter weather it can be downright dangerous. An investment of an hour or so to have your vehicle checked will pay off and help make sure your winter driving is safer for you and your loved ones.

Recommended steps for winterizing your vehicle:

Check the battery and charging system for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries.

Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a general rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.

Make sure heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. Typically, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.

If you’re due for a tune-up, have it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.

Check the tire’s tread depth and tire pressure. Snow and icy conditions area virtually guaranteed in Southern Ontario, so consider winter tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.

Check the brakes. The braking system is your vehicle’s most important safety component.

Inspect the exhaust system for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.

Check to see that exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed. Visibility at night is often worse in winter, and it starts getting dark before 5 pm. Even “9 to 5’ers” find themselves driving to and from work in the dark this time of year.

Be diligent about changing the oil at recommended intervals as dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.

Motorists should also keep the gas tank at least half full at all times to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. Drivers should check the tire pressure of the spare in the trunk and stock an emergency kit with an ice scraper and snow brush, jumper cables, flashlight, flares, blanket, extra clothes, candles/matches, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.

From all of us at Eastside Auto Service, we wish you and your family a safe winter driving experience.

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