Check Off These Services as Old Man Winter Rolls On

Making a list and checking it twice doesn’t apply to holiday shopping alone. The same concept extends to vehicle checkups and services ahead of that family road trip.

Transport Canada offers the following suggestions for servicing your vehicle this winter:

  • Replace windshield wipers. The rubber/silicone/composite blade that touches the glass won’t last forever. Dry, cracked blades smear water and snow around instead of sweeping. New blades equal better visibility.
  • Check exterior lights. Do the bulbs appear dull? It may mean the bulbs need to be replaced. Or perhaps simply cleaning residue from light casings will improve brightness. Use a microfiber towel to clean lenses, but never use a dry rag that can scratch.
  • Basic engine performance. Hard starts, rough idling, stalling and diminished power are symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored.
  • Check belts and hoses. Flimsy, brittle hoses will eventually fail and leave you stranded.
  • Battery and electrical system. Cold weather can cause a weak battery to go dead overnight. The only accurate way to check the battery and overall charging system is with professional equipment. Corroded cables also reduce battery efficiency.
  • Filters. Soiled fuel filters and air filters hinder engine performance, dragging down fuel economy.
  • Oil. Check owner’s manual for recommended service intervals. 
  • Heater/Defroster. Newer models have a cabin air filter that needs inspection (check your owner's manual for the location and replacement suggestions).
  • Tires: Air compresses at higher mountain altitudes, and you may need to add extra air for mountain driving. Also, inspect for tire problems such as tread, uneven wear, sidewall cuts and nicks. Check that your spare is in good condition and inflated.
  • Four-wheel drive systems. Inspect for fluid levels and drivetrain noises. Test the system to see if it engages and disengages properly.