Prepare Your Vehicle

Winter weather is hard on your vehicle and its engine. Here are some tips to help you make sure your ride is up to the challenge:

  1. Install winter tires. Use four matched winter tires that carry the mountain/snowflake winter tire symbol and with tread no less than 3.5 mm – even when driving a 4 X 4 vehicle.
    Tires marked with an M+S (Mud and Snow) are also legally acceptable but do not provide the same degree of performance as a mountain snowflake tire in severe winter conditions.
    Winter tires improve driving safety by providing better traction in snow, slush and icy conditions. Check for wear before installing the tires and check tire air pressure frequently, as it decreases in cold weather.
  2. Get your car winter ready with a maintenance check up. Preventative maintenance is key. Make sure your battery, brakes, lights and fuses, cooling and heating systems, electrical and exhaust systems, and belts and hoses are in tip-top shape.
  3. Change your wiper blades to winter blades. They are heavier and push snow and ice more easily.
  4. Clear snow and ice from all windows, lights, mirrors, hood and the roof. After starting your vehicle, wait for the window to defrost completely to allow clear visibility all around.
  5. If you have a cell phone, make sure it’s charged and bring it with you. A car charger for the phone is a smart device to have on hand. Cell phone batteries can freeze in very cold weather. Don’t leave your phone in the car for extended periods of time.
  6. Make sure your windshield washer reservoir is full, and carry extra washer fluid in your vehicle.
  7. Be prepared by packing a winter survival kit. Recommended items include:
    • Emergency kit containing non-perishable food, blankets and first aid supplies
    • Windshield scraper and snow brush
    • Extra windshield washer fluid
    • Spare tire, wheel wrench and jack
    • Shovel and traction mat, sand or kitty litter
    • Fuel line antifreeze
    • Flares and matches or lighter
    • Tire chains and gloves
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • Battery jumper cables
    • Extra clothing and footwear
    • Sandbags for extra weight
  8. Keep your gas tank topped up. This will help to avoid condensation and moist air inside the tank, which can cause fuel lines to freeze and other serious issues.
  9. If you get stuck in a storm, don’t panic. Avoid overexertion and exposure. Stay in your vehicle and open your window slightly to make sure you have a supply of fresh air. Use a survival candle for heat. Set out a warning light or flares.

Download: Prepare Your Vehicle PDF [709k]

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