Winter is still several weeks away, but there has been snow on highways at higher elevations, such as the Coquihalla, black ice has been reported on area highways, and more snow is predicted in the region for later this week. Colder weather is hard on your vehicle and its engine, so here are a few tips to help you make sure that you and your ride are up to whatever the weather throws at you.
Winter tires are now mandatory in most parts of the province. They improve driving safety by providing better traction in snow, slush, and icy conditions. Use four matched winter tires that carry the mountain/snowflake symbol and with a tread that is no less than 3.5 mm. This applies even if you drive a 4X4 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.
Preventative maintenance is key, so before you head out on the highway 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.
Filling up your gas tank will help to avoid condensation and moist air inside the tank, which can cause fuel lines to freeze, as well as other serious issues. Having a full charge on your electric or hybrid vehicles is also a must. EV battery power drains faster in colder weather.
Swap out your regular wiper blades for winter blades, which are heavier, and push snow and ice more easily.
Fill your windshield washer reservoir with winter-rated fluid, and carry an extra jug in your vehicle.
No one wants to contemplate a possible breakdown, but your vehicle should include an emergency kit just in case. Recommended items for your kit include blankets and first aid supplies; a shovel and a traction mat, sand or kitty litter, or sandbags for extra weight; flares and matches or a lighter; tire chains and gloves; a flashlight and extra batteries; jumper cables; water; non-perishable food; and extra clothing and footwear.
For more winter driving information, visit www.ShiftIntoWinter.ca.