Winter Driving: Winterize your car

Trent Ernst, Editor


Ready or not, the snow is coming. In fact, it’s already here.

We’ve already talked about the rules around proper winter tires, but what else do you need to do to get ready for winter?

The first thing to do is know what winter means. If you’re new to Tumbler Ridge, you might not grasp quite how bitter winter can be. Think -40, think wind. Think snow for six months.

That’s not a prediction of what the weather is going to be like, but just a point to aim for when getting your car ready for winter. You don’t want to put windshield wiper fluid in, for instance, that is good down to -20, then try and spray gunk off your window when it’s -40.

So let’s start there: Check your fluids. Make sure you have appropriate anti-freeze, windshield washer fluid and oil. You might want to carry a bottle of gas line anti-freeze for those really, really cold days.

Be prepared for “winter flats”. When it gets really cold, the air in your tire can condense, leaving one side of your tire flat. This can cause a thumping as you drive. It will go away if you drive slowly. Also, consider filling your tires with nitrogen, which isn’t a s prone to condensing.

Check your battery. Cold weather is hard on batteries.

Do a system test of your heater. You’ve probably already had opportunity to do so, but there’s nothing better than a car with a heater that doesn’t work. Or where the defrost vents don’t blow air, cold or warm.

Attach a cord to your car’s block heater. Okay, I’ll admit it, this one’s mine. But you know how they have those great cords with the little light in it that lets you know power’s flowing? Well, why are they always on the power side of the equation? For instance, if I have a cord with a light in it attached to my house, and the light is on, I know that there is power coming from the house to the cord. But at -40 when I’m trying to plug it in and I accidentally dropped it and now there’s snow in the female end? I can’t be assured that power is making it to the cord. But if the cord with the light is attached to the car, I’ll know when it’s working.

Check your exhaust. In the winter, the chance of driving about with the window down is slim to none. (Most of the time, it’s frozen shut.) If there is a leak and that leak is getting into the cabin, it can prove deadly.

Finally, check that your lights are working and properly aimed. Come Christmas, you’re looking at 16 hours of darkness. Your lights need to be in good working order.