Our talented service technicians at Dingwall Ford want to be sure all our friends and neighbors in both Kenora and Dryden know that it’s not too late to winterize. Winterizing now may save you time and money in the long run.
By the time temperatures are consistently hovering around freezing, it’s time to bring in your vehicle for seasonal winterizing. If you don’t, you could find yourself stranded on a cold Canadian roadway - and that’s not where anyone wants to spend an evening.
There are some practical things you can do to make sure your vehicle goes the distance this winter.
Using good-quality oil and getting oil changes every 3000 miles is a standard healthy-car tip for car owners. As you approach the winter months, ask your technician about changing your oil to one with a lower viscosity than the oil you regularly use.
Oil lubricates all the gears, pistons, and mechanics within your engine, keeping it well lubricated and running at a premium. High-viscosity oil hardens and thickens in cold weather. Oil with a lower viscosity doesn’t harden or thicken as quickly, which allows it to travel easily into and through your engine. Swapping out your oil is a simple and inexpensive winterizing tip that can keep you out of the mechanic’s shop.
If you’re changing your own oil, a good tip is to look for oil with a lower number in front of the W on the oil can. Those are typically the oils with lower viscosity.
Check Tire Pressure
Your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation for tire pressure is located on a sticker on the inside of your driver’s side door. We recommend during the winter months that you keep your tire pressure at a little less than the recommended amount. Checking tire pressure isn’t something you necessarily need to do before every drive; however, we do recommend that before an extended trip, you check your tires thoroughly before you leave the comfort of your warm garage.
Consider Winter Tires
Not so long ago, we called them snow tires. Nowadays, winter tires provide extra traction on many cold, hard surfaces, not just surfaces covered in snow. Manufactured with more flexibility, winter tires function well on a variety of surfaces, providing confidence and safety with every rotation. Although they are a little more expensive than a set of ‘normal’ tires, winter tires last three or four seasons with proper maintenance, so they’re well worth the extra money upfront.
Along with getting your oil changed, fluid levels need to be checked every 3000 miles. At your next oil change, ask your technician about checking fluid levels for your radiator, power steering, brakes, windshield wipers, and transmission. Adding antifreeze to any water-based fluid is often recommended to keep fluid levels consistent and unfrozen.
Check Windshield Wipers
Do your wipers make a shuddering “schrup-schrup” sound as they stutter across your windshield? Have you noticed chips or notches in your blades? Did you know windshield wipers are meant to be changed every 6-12 months?
Most folks don’t change their wipers that often, but since you’re getting ready for winter anyway, you may as well look into the type of wipers that are engineered for winter weather. Since they’re made to glide across frozen windshields and clear ice and sleet better than the average blades, these wipers are worth it.
Batteries have a life expectancy of approximately five years. If you know you’re creeping up on the five-year mark as you head into the winter season, be sure to have a technician look at your battery and check all the cables, caps, and connections. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting all ready to go somewhere, getting in the car, and hearing the telltale ‘click-click-click’ of a dead battery.
Simple maintenance and a quick battery check will spare you that frustration.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Preparing an emergency kit is an essential part of winterizing your vehicle and one that many folks forget to do. If you frequently travel with older adults or small children, preparing this gym bag-sized kit can save lots of anxiety and frustration if you find yourself stranded in the cold for an unpredictable amount of time. Some items to pack include:
- Water bottles, non-perishable snacks like jerky, trail mix, crackers, and hard candy
- First aid kit including assorted bandages, gauze, tape, gloves, whistle, aspirin, tourniquet, tweezers, antacids, antibacterial ointment
- Moist towelettes
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Lighter or firestarter
- Duct tape
- Extra phone charger
- Reflective rectangles or road flares
- Blankets, extra socks, travel pillow
If traveling with small children:
- Books, playing cards, coloring books, and crayons
- Children’s fever reducer
- Warm hats and gloves
You don’t have to winterize on your own. Call or email either of our service departments, conveniently located in Kenora and Dryden. Your safety is our primary concern, and winterizing your vehicle is one more way we can help. Schedule your winterizing appointment TODAY.