Auto Service World
News   November 16, 2021   by Adam Malik

Tips to get vehicles winter ready

The cold weather is here and your customers may not know everything they need to do to make sure their vehicle is ready for the winter season.

CAA’s Southcentral Ontario and Manitoba units put together some guidance for drivers. Feel free to share this with your customers so that they’re ready to handle whatever winter throws their way.

“We are encouraging motorists to be winter wise and plan ahead for heavy snowfalls, slippery road conditions and frigid temperatures before they happen,” said Heather Mack, manager of government and community relations at CAA MB.

The three top things CAA recommends are an emergency roadside kit, winter tires and checking the vehicle’s battery.

As temperatures are generally below 7 degrees Celsius across the country, now’s the time to make sure winter tires are installed. This will help to fully optimize the vehicle’s handling, stability and braking.

“Compared to all-season tires, winter tires stay flexible in cold temperatures giving you better traction, whether or not there’s snow on the ground,” explained Kaitlynn Furse, director of corporate communications at CAA Club Group. “This may reduce your stopping distance by a few feet which can be the reason for preventing a collision.”

While getting tires installed, owners should have their shop technician check their vehicle’s battery. “Even a fully charged battery can lose power when the temperature dips below 0 degrees Celsius,” said Furse. “It’s important to have your car battery tested in the fall to ensure it’s ready for the winter.”

Some warning signs that may indicate a batter in need of replacement are:

  • Your vehicle cranks slowly when trying to start. It takes 175 to 250 amps of battery power to get a car going. If your car is slow to start, you might be dealing with an insufficient charge.
  • Your headlights dim while idling. When idle, a car may draw more power than the alternator alone can produce, so your battery kicks in. If your headlights dim when you are idling but brighten when you rev the engine, it could mean a drained battery.
  • Your digital systems power down quickly. Electronics like the radio, GPS, dash cams and other accessories, especially in modern cars, use battery power when the engine is off. If they stop functioning properly, it could suggest a weak battery.
  • You hear a grinding, clicking or buzzing noise when you turn on the ignition. It’s important to be able to distinguish the reason why your vehicle may be making noises, usually, these sounds mean your battery has lost its charge but if you’re still unsure, get your vehicle checked by a professional.
  • Your vehicle has stalled. The stored energy in your car battery is essential for starting the engine, without its juice, you won’t be going very far.

And, finally, a fully stocked emergency roadside kit should be kept in the car. This will give drivers and passengers everything they need to stay safe until help arrives. The kit should include a flashlight and extra batteries, warning devices (e.g., flares, reflective vests/strips), a first aid kit, blankets, jumper cables, non-perishable food and water plus a phone charger.

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