Don’t let the winter weather catch you and your car by surprise. To make sure you’re prepared, check out these handy tips from the auto experts at NAPA Canada.
Winter Driving 101
1. Don’t drive in winter until all snow and ice is cleared off your windows, side mirrors, headlights, taillights and most importantly, license plates.
2. Before you head into winter traffic, make sure that your windshield wipers are not frozen to your windshield.
3. Keep your windshield washer fluid tank full.
4. It’s important to allow the oil to flow before taking off in cold weather, so start your car and let it warm up for a minute or two. This will ease wear on your engine and other mechanical components. (Here’s what you probably didn’t know about getting an oil change.)
5. Check the tread on your tires regularly for uneven or extreme wear. (Change a flat tire yourself with the help of these step-by-step instructions.)
6. Keep half a tank of gas in your vehicle. If you become stranded in extreme conditions, the extra fuel can keep you nice and warm. (Here are nine common car sounds and what they could possibly mean.)
7. Whenever you run your car to keep warm in the cold weather, make sure you keep a window cracked to prevent carbon monoxide from building up. If you can, free the exhaust pipe from any snow to further reduce the carbon monoxide risk.
8. Take care when parking in snow. A blocked tailpipe could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
9. Keep an extra hat, pair of gloves and ice scraper in your car for unexpected weather changes.
10. Keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle, including a blanket, clothes, gloves, boots, emergency flashlight, medication and non-perishable foods like candy bars or crackers.
11. Just in case of a snow emergency, keep a shovel, an extra pair of windshield wiper blades, snow brush and ice scraper handy.
12. If you are heading into a skid or slip, remember to keep your foot off the brake and the accelerator.
13. When stuck in ice or snow, try using your floor mats to gain extra traction under your tires.
14. If you hit a patch of ice and start to slide, take your foot off of the gas pedal! Do not use your brake. Do not jerk the steering wheel. Instead, turn your car towards the skid.
15. If the road conditions are icy or snowy, don’t panic! Because people tend to over-steer, it’s important to drive slowly.