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Getting Your Vehicle Ready For Winter

Getting Your Vehicle Ready For Winter

With winter weather around the corner, it’s becoming increasingly more important to be prepared for the ice, snow, slush and slippery roads ahead. Making sure your vehicle is ready for unforeseen winter road emergencies is our number one priority for you and your family. Read along as we cover a few simple but important steps to get you through the season safely.

Getting Ready

First things first: vehicle maintenance is important to get you through any road conditions. While driving in a snowstorm can be challenging, a properly maintained vehicle is vital to keep you safe through the unexpected. Follow this checklist to make sure your vehicle is winter-ready.

  • Get a maintenance checkup to be sure your vehicle is able to handle the harsh driving conditions.
  • Keep your fuel tank at least half full. This will reduce the moisture in the fuel system and add extra weight to your vehicle to improve traction as your driving.
  • Remember to have washer fluid that works down to -40 degrees Celsius and an ice-scraper to clean your windshield and mirrors whenever necessary.

Putting together a winter-ready survival kit is a great idea in case of an emergency. Some things to include:

  • Phone charger
  • Water and canned food
  • Flashlight
  • Warm clothes and a blanket
  • Jumper cables
  • Shovel
  • Sand or traction mats
  • Matches or a lighter

Choosing Winter Tires For Your Vehicle

Investing in a great pair of winter tires is a sure way to improve your vehicle's traction and control in slippery and icy conditions, as well as shorten braking distance by as much as twenty-five percent.

Please note that mixing different types of tires on one vehicle is not recommended. For optimal safety and performance, be sure to install four winter tires and check on your tire pressure and wear regularly.

Choosing to stay safe does come with its benefits, allowing you to get a discount on your auto insurance - be sure to ask your insurance provider for more information.

How To Tell If You Have Winter Tires

The simplest way to know if your tires have been designed specifically for winter is to look for the three-peak mountain symbol on the tire.

Tire Options You’ll Find This Season

The vast majority of vehicles today come standard with All-Season tires. All-Season tires combine characteristics of both summer and winter tires, offering a hybrid solution for drivers living in regions with mild winter conditions (temperatures rarely dropping below zero). Remember, these are NOT the same as winter tires and can start to lose grip at 7 degrees Celsius.

While convenient, All-Season tires are hardly the best choice for the harsh weather Ontario drivers may face. Let’s take a look at some other options:

Winter Tires

  • Provide outstanding grip on road surfaces covered with snow and ice, as well as wet roads in cold conditions.
  • The tread compound contains more natural rubber, which means it doesn’t harden when the temperature drops below 7 degrees Celsius.
  • The tread design has deeper blocks that will dig into snow and ice to provide more grip.
  • Designed for clearing water and slush from the path.

Winter Run-Flat Tires

  • Come with the same benefits as standard winter tires.
  • In the event of a puncture, or a sudden drop in inflation pressure, a run-flat tire will remain operational until you’re able to make it home or the nearest garage safely.
  • The functionality is provided by thick reinforced sidewalls, meaning you can drive on them temporarily (approximately 80km) after a puncture.

4x4 Truck Tires

  • Feature a more widely spaced tread design, a larger tread block and deeper tire grooves.
  • Provide better traction on tough terrains like mud, grass and snow without the tread area becoming clogged.

While studded tires may be an option in Northern Ontario, please remember that they are not permitted in the GTA (unless you’re visiting from out-of-province or are a resident of Northern Ontario). If you're unsure of which tires are the best option for your vehicle, be sure to book a tire consultation as soon as possible.

Driving Tips

While driving in winter weather can be unpredictable, staying extra prepared and cautious while on the road can help you stay safe. Before you leave your home, be sure to follow the following steps:

  • Check the weather forecast. If the conditions seem poor, we suggest delaying your trip if possible.
  • Be sure to clear ice and snow from your lights, mirrors, roof and windows.
  • Visit Ontario511 to find plow schedules on provincial highways.

Use Ontatario511 to check on road conditions:

  • Web:
  • Twitter: @511Ontario
  • Phone: dial 511(hands-free, voice-activated phone service)

On The Road

  • If you’re stuck in poor weather conditions, be sure to slow down and stay in control. Most collisions are a direct result of drivers going too fast.
  • Never use cruise control on slippery or icy pavement as it reduces your reaction time and vehicle control.
  • Remember to steer gently on curves during slippery conditions. Quick acceleration, sudden gear changes and hard braking can cause your vehicle to skid.
  • In the event that you do skid, release your brakes and steer in the direction you want to go. Be careful not to oversteer as your vehicle could spin.
  • If you’ve been driving for a while, you know that it takes longer to stop on slippery roads. Make sure to leave extra space between you and other vehicles on the road.
  • Be sure to focus on the road - get rid of anything that you may find distracting.
  • Pay attention to the surface of the road. Asphalt in the winter should look grey-white. If it looks shiny and black, it may be covered in ice. It’s important to remember that shaded areas, bridges and overpasses freeze earlier than other sections on the roads.
  • You’ve got lights for a reason, be sure to use your vehicle’s full lighting system in poor visibility and whiteout conditions.
  • If conditions become dangerous, don’t be afraid to pull over safely and wait for the weather to improve.

Driving Near Snowplows In Dangerous Conditions

  • Stay back from snowplows and other winter maintenance vehicles with flashing blue lights.
  • Never pass a working snowplow. This action can be extremely dangerous for both you and the plow driver and could result in a severe, or even fatal, collision.
  • Please be patient as it takes time to clear the roads after a snowfall. As roads are plowed in sections, you usually won’t be stuck behind a plow for more than thirty minutes.

Let Us Get Your Vehicle Winter Ready

No matter your needs, at Zanchin Automotive, we’re happy to get your vehicle ready for the unexpected weather ahead. With our knowledgeable and friendly automotive experts, you can skip the stress and enjoy the amazing customer experience we’re known for. Book a service appointment with us today!

Categories: Service