Getting your vehicles winter-ready
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
Ontario winters can make driving challenging for motorists.
To maintain the smooth operation of your vehicle, it is crucial to establish and maintain a schedule for its maintenance.
Weather conditions can get unpredictable, placing extra demand on your vehicle and your driving skills, some of which you can reduce with thorough maintenance. Dingwall Motors Manager Derrick Sawdo said, “Vehicle maintenance is very important. You obviously can’t see everything that may happen. But this is a good time to check-in, for maybe, something you didn’t realize could be an issue, and that gets caught now, before it leaves you stranded somewhere.”
According to the Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO) website, it is not only illegal to drive a vehicle in a dangerous condition, but vehicle maintenance can also prove to be more economical for you. It can mean better gas mileage and a better price when you sell it. Maintaining your vehicle also helps to protect the environment. A well-maintained vehicle will usually start in all weather conditions.
Michael George, a mechanic at H&M c.a.r.s said, “You must remember to check the anti-freeze for winter. It has to have strength of minus 40 degree Celsius, to avoid freezing. Make sure all your lights are working, block heaters, and the other basic stuff like the brake system, battery, oil, exhaust system and ignition systems should be checked.”
Faulty exhaust systems are especially dangerous in the winter when drivers are more likely to drive with windows and vents closed. Have your exhaust checked if it sounds noisy or rattles, as mentioned on the MTO’s website.
Technician at Aztak Auto, Rick Jaworski, said that lubrication must be added to all doors and locks. “Check your wiper blades and washer fluid. Check all your lights, and your radiator, belts and hoses. Make sure that if you’re going to put on your winter tires, get out there before its seven degrees. Anything below seven degrees, you want winter tires. And of course make sure you have your safety kits up to date and just a general check over,” said Jaworski.
According to MTO’s website, worn or damaged tires can affect your ability to drive safely. It is best to replace tires before the tread depth reaches the regulatory minimum of 1.5 mm for regular sized vehicles. “It is important for people to remember that tires are the only part of the vehicle that touches the road. They are very underrated in people’s minds. But they are one of the most important things on your vehicle,” said Sawdo.
The website also states that studies suggest, a 3 mm deep tread can stop a vehicle on wet pavement in a 25 percent shorter distance, compared to a tire with a 1.5 mm deep tread. Drivers should check the manufacturer’s wear-indicator mark, which are small bars of rubber found between the tread blocks of a tire, to see if they need replacing. The tire no longer provides sufficient traction in the rain or snow.
Service Advisor at Madsen GM, Erik Hoey said, “Vehicles function totally differently in the winter. Its always a good idea just before the snow flies, just to get your vehicle fully winterized and put your winter tires on, it can save your life.”