Navigating the cold and snow during a Saskatchewan winter is not for the faint of heart. The extreme temperatures, strong winds, snow, and icy roads can be challenging.
Since March 2020, working from home has become the new normal for many people. Depending on your situation, that may mean your vehicle is parked for longer periods on your driveway or in the garage. What are the steps you can take to care for your vehicle properly during the winter? Terry Potter, the operations manager for the CAA Car Care Centre at Regina Battery Depot shares his expertise on winter car care.
“Your family’s safety is important,” says Potter. “It’s a good idea to check your vehicle’s fluids, including antifreeze, brake fluid, and use window washer fluid rated for -40°C. Have your brakes inspected thoroughly and service them, if necessary. This will help with better braking power especially on icy roads.” CAA Rewards® partner, NAPA has some valuable information on how to check your oil and other fluids levels.
In the winter, keep a full tank of fuel or at minimum a half tank of fuel to help reduce moisture in the gas tank. This also adds weight to your vehicle.
Winter tires are recommended. They are made with a different rubber compound that allows for better traction and control. When choosing winter tires, consider the tread design, type of rubber, size, and conditions of use. The CAA Car Care team can help you choose the right tires and have them installed on your vehicle. They also offer storage for your all-seasonal/summer tires, if needed.
It’s important to check the pressure in your tires regularly for winter and all-season tires as colder temperatures may cause pressure loss in the tires. Your vehicle may or may not have sensors to alert you, either way it’s a good idea to check them. The proper tire pressure allows for better fuel efficiency.
Plug in at -15°C
If your vehicle is often parked outdoors, it’s a good idea to plug your block heater in for 2-3 hours before starting your vehicle when the temperature falls below -15°C. It’s easier on your motor and battery. Try using a timer and make sure the cord is not frayed and is in good working condition.
Charge your Battery
Potter says to let your vehicle warm up before heading out. This will help charge the car battery, plus warm up the interior of your vehicle. Extreme weather weakens the battery so check it often and have it charged if necessary. A battery maintainer charges the battery when the voltage has dropped and won’t damage the battery if you leave it on and unattended. A maintainer can be purchased at the Regina Battery Depot. If your battery does need replacing, Regina Battery Depot offers a wide variety of batteries for vehicles, and more (snowmobiles, laptops, watches, etc.), plus they are owned and operated by CAA Saskatchewan. CAA members save 10% on labour at the CAA Car Care Centre and the Regina Battery Depot.
See and be Seen
Before you drive clean the ice and snow off your front, rear, and side windows and mirrors, even if you’re going a short distance. Clear visibility is an important safety tip. Also, remember to turn your vehicle headlights and taillights on starting in early morning/evening, and during inclement weather and low visibility. Some drivers think a lit-up dashboard means their vehicle lights are on, which may not be true. Please don’t be the driver of a phantom vehicle.
We live in a landlocked province and our vehicles are our lifeline. It’s vital we take care of them to help prevent breakdowns and help keep our families safe. For information on winter car care or how to choose winter tires for your vehicle, contact the CAA Car Care Centre.