Top Five DIY Things to Get Your Car Ready for Winter
I've been thinking...Fall is upon us in full force and it brings along with it a host of things that need to be addressed with your car. In Canada, fall is a very short-lived season and it is the perfect time to get your ride ready for the harsh winter that is never too far behind. Here is my list of the top five DIY things to get your car ready for winter.
1. Get a good set of winter tires and rims.
2. While your wheels are off, check your brakes.
3. Get a good set of new wiper blades.
4. Change your engine oil and filter along with the air and cabin air filters.
5. Make sure all your fluids are topped-up and winter ready.
First on the list is to get yourself a good set of winter tires and rims. For the longest time I have fought this line of thought because I could not justify spending that amount of money to replace a perfectly good set of tires. The worst part about it is that I would use the craziest of excuses like, winter tires are noisy and harder on gas or I don't like the way they make my car look. The fact of the matter is that winter tires just make sense. They remain softer at lower temperatures which allows for better traction, improved steering control and reduced braking distances. Getting them mounted on a good set of rims just makes them easier to switch back and forth as the seasons change. It also allows you to save money in the long run as you can do this yourself instead of paying someone else to do it. Now, before you go out there and hurt yourself, there are a few things worth noting. You will need a few tools to get this done and no this cannot happen with the tools you have to throw on your spare tire. You will need a good floor jack and safety stands as well as some basic hand tools. Safety is super important here so don't rush through it. If you are not sure how to do this, please watch this video before you get started.
While you have the wheels off, it is the best time to get number two on our list done. Checking your car's brakes can be a life saver, specially just before winter. You want to make sure that your brake pads have enough life left to last you through the winter but more importantly, you want to check how they are performing. A healthy brake system should have pads wearing evenly on both sides of the rotor (large metal disc) as well as from top to bottom. If you notice one is not as thick as the other or is super worn on one end and thick at the other, it is a sign that something is not right and you should bring your vehicle to a trusted mechanic for a brake system service.
Coming in at number three on my list is to get yourself a solid set of new wiper blades. Now is the best time to go out and get them because it will be a lot easier than doing this in the slushy snow after you've realized you need them. There is nothing worse than getting on the road and turning on the wipers only to find out you can't see out of windshield anymore. It is very dangerous and frankly irresponsible.
The fourth thing you should do before winter is to get your engine oil and filter changed along with the engine and cabin air filters. Fall is a difficult time for your car's air filters, all the dust from pollen and falling leaves gets clogged up in there and your engine struggles to get air while your heater is having a hard time defrosting your windshield. Getting all that done before winter ensures that your car is in it's best possible shape to handle whatever comes its way.
Finally, you want to make sure all your fluids are topped up and winter ready. This means you want to check all fluid levels (refer back to your owner's manual to find the location). You also want to make sure they are winter ready. Most oils, like engine, transmission, brake and power steering are good, you want to direct your attention to the other fluids which contain water such as your coolant and your windshield washer fluid. This last one usually has a temperature rating on the bottle so just make sure you pay attention to what you are pouring in there. The engine coolant however is a little different, you will need to test the strength using a coolant tester which will tell you level of freeze protection you can expect from your coolant. Depending on the results, you might want to add pure antifreeze or water into your system.
With that, we have come to the end of my top five DIY things to get your car ready for winter. I hope this article inspires you to get out there and get things done. When we get on the winter's treacherous roads we can all breathe a little easier knowing our cars are at the peak of their game.
Thanks for reading!