If you’ve been in Mississauga, ON for very long, you know how rough the winters here can be. There are plenty of things you can do to make sure that your car is up to the rigors of winter driving, but one of the most important is to make sure you’re ready with a good set of winter tires.
Considering the extremes of ice and snow that we can sometimes see in Mississauga, ON, winter tires can be a wise choice. Today’s winter tires are a far cry from the heavy, noisy, clumsy “snow tires” or “mud grips” of a generation ago. Today’s winter tires are designed with a tread compound that says flexible at low temperatures for traction, and an aggressive, deeper tread pattern that offers enhanced traction in snow and slush. Many come pre-drilled to make it easy to install metal studs, which are invaluable on icy surfaces. The Dunlop Graspic DS-3 and Goodyear Ultra Grip are both excellent choices for winter driving. NOTE: winter tires are not intended to be driven in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or 4 degrees Celsius. Driving in warmer weather will accelerate wear of winter tires.
Before the snow starts flying, here are some other considerations for your vehicle:
- Oil change: Motor oil naturally thickens and becomes more viscous in cold weather. Thicker motor oil has a harder time circulating to all the moving parts in the engine at startup, putting more stress and wear on those parts. Starting off winter with a fresh motor oil change can help head off premature wear.
- Battery: Extreme cold actually slows down the chemical reaction that stores electricity inside your battery. At 10 degrees Fahrenheit, your battery can only deliver about half its rated cranking power. Thicker motor oil (as mentioned) also puts more strain on the battery by making it harder for the starter to turn the engine over. If your battery is approaching the end of its warranty phase, it might be time to consider replacing it before winter.
- Cooling system: Your car’s coolant is actually a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water. As well as protecting against overheating, antifreeze is also designed to keep coolant from freezing in extreme cold. Over time, coolant will degrade and become contaminated; manufacturers usually recommend a cooling system flush at 30-50,000 mile intervals.
- Wiper blades: Ultraviolet rays, the elements and normal use take their toll on wiper blades, and even the best wipers are only good for about a year. If the rubber on your wiper blades is looking worn, cracked or frayed, go ahead and replace them. You need to be able to see the road to drive safely!
- Wash and wax: A clean exterior and a fresh coat of wax can help your car shed salt and road chemicals more easily, protecting your finish and body panels from rust.
All that preparation, however, will do you no good if you can’t get enough traction to get you where you need to go through snow and ice. Don’t go slipping and sliding through winter with a set of all-season tires that isn’t up to the job. It could mean the difference between getting to your destination or ending up in the ditch. Give us a call at The Tire Terminal, set up an appointment and let us help make sure your car’s ready for the cold weather to come!