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Your Essential Winter Vehicle Maintenance Checklist

Fall is definitely here, and winter will be coming soon. That means that a Bonnyville collision repair shop like us will see a major spike in collisions on icy roads, many of which can be avoided. While we’ve talked about what to do in the event that you skid on an icy road (link), the cold weather can do a lot of other things to damage your vehicle.

Here are five things you need to check before winter arrives:

    1. Battery

        Cold has a huge effect on your battery: when the temperature is below freezing it has half of the cranking power that it will have in warmer weather, making it much harder to start your vehicle (and get the all-important heater running). Get a voltage test of your battery done before winter, and if it isn’t up to scratch get a new battery.
    2. Lights

        Longer, darker nights, snowstorms and mud mean that your lights are going to be more important than ever, while also being much less effective. Make sure that your lights are clean and, if you can, upgrade them to brighter LED bulbs (which are pretty inexpensive) or install fog lights.
    3. Washer Fluid

        Cars get a lot dirtier in winter months, as snow turns to mud on roads. You’ll be using your wipers and fluid a lot more often, so make sure it’s topped up and that you have a spare bottle for emergencies. Don’t be tempted to save a few bucks by making your own- any gas station will have plenty of fluid for under $10. Also, don’t forget to clean your wiper blades and replace them if you need to.
    4. Tires

      Winter tires (not all-weather) are vital for Canada’s difficult winter roads. They also need to be in good condition- make sure that the treads haven’t been worn down and that they’re a little better inflated than they would be during warmer weather.

    5. Check the Oil

        While it won’t ever freeze, motor oil can become thick and jelly-like in extremely cold temperatures, making it much harder for the engine to turn over. Make sure that you are using synthetic oils and/or those with a ‘W’ in the viscosity index, as they will be specially formulated to work at low temperatures.


    Take your car to a mechanic if you’re unsure about any of the above- if not, we’ll probably see you in our collision repair shop in Bonnyville and Cold Lake!