As a driver in Canada, you’re no doubt aware of most or all of the treacherous driving conditions you face during our long Canadian winters: black ice, heavy snow, blizzards, whiteouts, freezing rain, frost… the list is a long one. The season is inevitable, but driving on winter roads doesn’t have to be stressful when you follow our winter driving tips for the Chatham Area. Let’s start with the fundamentals…
Get a Full Winter Inspection
We always hear how important it is to go to the doctor for checkups, and the same principle applies to our vehicles. Inspections are important at any time of the year, but their importance becomes a little more pressing as the winter season begins. Do you really want to break down during a blizzard or try to get around in -35 degree weather while your car is back in the shop? Or even worse, do you want to be driving on black ice with brakes desperately in need of repair? A winter inspection is focused primarily on the components that tend to malfunction in cold weather and those you’ll need the most during the season. Things like the battery, fluids, filters, exhaust system, radiator, tires, ignition system, or anything else vitally important are taken care of.
Pick Up or Put On Winter Tires
It’s true that all-season tires do a decent job under most conditions, including some winter conditions, but you can’t best the performance and safety of winter tires when it comes to the colder conditions. Even if you’re not looking at temperatures of -40 just yet, the moment it reaches 10 degrees Celsius or worse outside, your summer or all-season tires are going to lose their grip on the road, and this gets worse as the temperatures continue to drop. Some professionals recommend that you switch your tires about two weeks before the first big snowfall, but predicting snow two weeks in advance, especially in Canada, might not be feasible. To be on the safe side, you can change your tires when you notice the temperature dropping (anything 10 degrees Celsius or lower). Just don’t leave it until the weather starts getting into the lower levels. You don’t want to get stuck behind all the other people in a mad dash to get their tires switched out when winter finally comes down hard.
Volkswagen Chatham is big on winter tires. We always carry a large supply of stock and our factory-trained Service Technicians know how to perfectly install them for you so there are zero headaches down the road. We also offer complimentary inspections to check for any tire damage. We want your Volkswagen stopping, steering and staying on the road throughout the winter, just like it was meant to do. Contact us to learn more about our selection of winter tires for the Chatham area. And read on to discover more winter driving tips for the Chatham Area…
Take Care of Your Headlights and Taillights
The arrival of the colder months means the sun will be setting earlier, the day will be darker, and the visibility will be reduced, mostly because of conditions like whiteouts and blizzards, so it’s imperative that all your lamps are crisp, clear, and in A+ working order. If your lamps are dirty or just look dull, you can clean them yourself quickly with one of the lamp restoration kits we have here at Volkswagen Chatham.
Assemble a Winter Emergency Kit
It’s vital that you have a winter vehicle emergency kit in your car at all times during the winter. Not having one can come down to a situation of life or death. You can buy kits that have already been put together, but you’ll still need to supplement it with additional items. Every emergency kit should be ready with:
- Jumper cables
- Salt or sand for traction
- A small shovel, scraper and snow brush
- Extra clothing (should yours get wet)
- First-aid kit
- Water bottles that won’t crack or break in the cold
There’s so much advice about how to drive safely during the winter that it can be a bit much. Just try to follow a few basic rules: keep a safe following distance between you and the car in front of you; reduce your speed as needed; avoid hard and sudden braking; give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination; monitor the weather reports; remove the piles of snow and the frost from your car before you start driving; and avoid the roads whenever you can if the conditions are unsafe.
Just remember our winter driving tips for the Chatham Area, and be sure to drive with the ideal tires.