3 ways winter is harming your car

Environment Canada warning of slippery roads due to a snow storm today

Driving in Canada during the colder months means you need to be prepared to drive in all kinds of weather conditions. Winter driving can without a doubt pose a threat to your vehicle, so it’s important to be cautious of the effects of cold weather.

Road salt. Snowstorms and cold, damp winter days combine to make driving conditions perilous. This is why tons of rock salt is used on our roads to create safer driving conditions. The problem with road salt or brine — which is a mix of magnesium chloride, salt and water — is the toll it takes on the exterior of your vehicle.

When left on your car for an extended period of time, the chemicals will eat away and weaken the chassis. You will soon see rust appearing, which can lead to costly body repairs. The key to preventing this from happening is washing the offending substance off as quickly as possible.

Tire pressure. Cold air naturally lowers your tires’ PSI. Be sure to check your tire pressure once a month and ensure current inflation matches the specifications of your vehicle. Improperly maintained tires could result in some detrimental effects on your vehicle’s performance and overall safety, such as irregular tire wear, tire failure, reduced fuel economy and decreased handling.

Freezing cold. Exposure to below freezing weather every day can do a number on rubber and plastic. While you’re enjoying the warm confines of your home on a -20°C night, your vehicle is exposed to the raw elements.

Rubber components such as windshield wipers, belts, and hoses bear the brunt of the damage. Frigid temperatures mean they become less pliable, increasing the chances of a rip, tear or break. These issues can create hazardous conditions as malfunctioning wipers can mean reduced visibility, while broken belts and hoses can lead to engine damage.

“To make sure your car is ready to handle this winter, we encourage a full auto service preventive inspection, along with changing or topping up all fluids,” says Darryl Croft, automotive expert at OK Tire. This includes everything from engine coolant and oil to windshield washer fluid. This should also include a verification of your, battery, brakes and belts.

“Don’t ignore the warning signs. The last thing you want is to be stranded on the side of the road on a cold day.”

Find more information at www.oktire.com.