Prepare your Vehicle for Winters
Manitoba winters can be tough on cars, so drivers should prepare well before the worst conditions hit. Here are useful tips to help you prepare your vehicle for winter in Manitoba.
Shelter Your Car
If you have the ability to put your car in a garage or under an awning, we recommend taking advantage of it. Waking up in the wee hours of the morning to scrape ice off your windows isn’t particularly fun or easy, and keeping ice off your paint will preserve your ride’s finish. Parking your vehicle in a warm, dry, area will make leaving in the morning immensely easier. If you don’t have access to covered parking, you can buy a cover at any hardware store to keep the snow and cold out.
Purchase Sand Bags
Believe it or not, sandbags can be your best friend if you have a truck or a car with rear-wheel drive. Purchase two large bags and put them in the bed of your truck or in the trunk of your car. This distributes more weight over the drive wheels, giving you more traction when you need it most. Worse comes to worse, you can use the sand inside to get moving if you get stuck in snow or slush. Sandbags are relatively cheap too, and can be found at just about any hardware store.
Take Note Of Oil And Fluids
A big part of what keeps your engine running is oil, which lubricates and protects the moving parts of the engine. Certain oils are affected differently be cold weather due to its molecular composition that allows it to not lose viscosity. Most oil thickens as the weather gets colder, keeping the oil from circulating throughout the engine and inducing more engine wear. This is where a block heater comes in. A block heater might be a no-brainer for many, but others don’t even know what block heaters do.
A block heater utilizes an electric heating element to heat the coolant, thus warming the engine block so that the engine turns over easily when it’s cranked. This not only reduces the stress on your battery, but the starter motor and, more importantly, the engine. Ensuring that you’re using the correct fluids in your vehicle can also make all the difference. For example, winter windshield washer fluid is key throughout the winter and spring months so that it doesn’t freeze in the reservoir.
Coolant is a similar story. The recommended coolant for the winter is 60/40 (meaning it’s composed of 60 percent coolant and 40 percent water). This combination is preferable because it does the job of cooling and additionally protects the vital internals of the cooling systems. The water in the coolant removes heat from the engine block and runs it through the heater core, which in turn creates heat for the cabin. Using winter tires and the correct fluids and oil in your vehicle is the first step to preparing for winter. Actually being prepared is another thing entirely. Be sure to keep a winter emergency kit in your vehicle. This should include a blanket, jumper cables, a shovel, gloves, and a phone charger that can be used in the car.
Assemble An Emergency Kit
While there’s certainly ample you can do to prevent ending up in a dangerous situation, you simply can’t plan for everything. That’s why it’s an excellent idea to pack yourself an emergency kit for the worse-case scenario. Consider adding bottled water, food, flares, blankets, a shovel, flashlights, batteries, and a first aid kit. Amazon has a plethora for pre-made emergency packs for sale, and they range from entry-level kits to more inclusive packages that come with phone chargers, radios, and folding saws.
Also, consider buying kitty litter to melt ice if you get stuck. These are things that are always good to have in your car, especially if you’re worried about getting stuck in a snow-bank.
Inspect Headlights And Brake Lights
It’s vital to have fully functioning headlights and brake lights when dealing with thick winter fog or heavy snow. It’s going to help your own visibility while driving, but also make sure other drivers are able to see you. Plastic headlight lens repair kits can be found at various retailers if you choose not to have it serviced by a professional.
Take note of the above tips and prepare your vehicle for winter.