Winter in Canada can be unpredictable. One thing we hope we can rely on is the safety of our cars. Your mechanic should always do regular inspections during your regular maintenance appointments to make sure your car is in safe condition. But here are some things you can check on your own to make sure you won’t get stranded in the cold this winter!
Do a Quick Walk Around
Spend 5 minutes doing a quick walk-around your vehicle. Get the kids involved and have some fun! Test the horn, the headlights, brake lights, signals, hazards, etc. Take a look under the hood to make sure it’s free from any critters that may have moved in. On a snowy evening you’ll know other drivers can see you.
Check Your Engine Oil
This is the simplest and most important of maintenance activities, and you can check it yourself before setting out on a Holiday road trip. The best time to check your engine’s oil is when the engine is warm to the touch. To check the oil, use the dipstick provided. Pull it out, wipe the oil off the end so it is clean. Then place it back in the oil, and pull out again. The oil should be at the full line. If it is significantly low, you should take your vehicle to your mechanic right away.
This should only take 2-3 minutes. And could save you a major headache!
Check Your Transmission Fluid
Checking the transmission fluid is as simple as checking the oil. Look under the hood for the dipstick labeled “transmission”. Do the exact same thing as you did the check the oil. If it is significantly low, make an appointment with your mechanic as soon as possible. Your transmission fluid is what keeps changing gears smooth.
This should also take only 2-3 minutes, but you save you major repairs from potential damage.
Check Your Battery
This one is critical in the colder months. The worst thing is when it’s freezing cold outside and you get into your car just for it to not start. Before you head out, do a quick inspection. Visually there should be no corrosion around the battery terminals. If you don’t have a voltmeter to check your battery, ask your mechanic if they checked it during their inspection, and if not ask them to please check it.
Take Advantage of Your Mechanic’s Winter Safety Packages
Most mechanics will offer a winter maintenance package that includes an oil change, winter tire installation, multiple-point inspection and battery check & printout. Take advantage of their package pricing this time of year. Don’t be left out in a ditch in the cold!
Wishing everyone a warm, happy and safe holiday season!