Prepare for this autumn and winter driving season

As COVID-19 continues to be an ongoing health crisis in the country, taking to the road will be a different experience than what most are used to. Traffic remains erratic in many areas — gone is the congestion-free motoring from the early days of lock down — especially with many students returning to classrooms, adults to the office in some capacity, and people once again venturing out of their homes.

Even though many got behind the wheel less, a recent Leger survey commissioned by OK Tire revealed 90 per cent of Canadians kept up with their automobile maintenance throughout the pandemic. Before heading out and about these upcoming colder months, OK Tire recommends these four tips to help drivers continue to stay safe and keep their vehicles running well.

1.      Don’t let your gas tank get too empty. Though the gas itself won’t freeze as it’s a mixture of chemicals, it’s not a bad idea to make sure your tank doesn’t fall below half or a quarter empty in the frigid weather. Otherwise If the extra air inside is warmer than the cold fuel tank walls, condensation can occur causing water to form and then potentially freeze. A bonus is not having to worry about hitchhiking when it’s below zero because you forgot to fill the car up.

2.      Protect your wipers from damage and fix any cracks in the windshield. Though it might be tempting to try and remove built-up ice from the window with the wipers when you’re in a pinch, this is a bad idea. Sharp and jagged ice can damage the rubber and render it useless. You also shouldn’t ignore any old cracks or chips in the glass as the cold can cause them to further split and get worse, necessitating a complete replacement. 

3.      Ensure your heater is working properly. While this might seem obvious, malfunctions may have occurred over the summer when the heater wasn’t in use. It never hurts to have a service professional assess your vehicle’s coolant level and heater core (which acts as a small radiator) before the cold weather starts to avoid driving in a refrigerator. Another reason to ensure things are operating as they should since a broken unit also prevents the defroster from blowing hot air and defogging and deicing the windshield. 

4.      Inspect your winter tires. Particularly in Canada, winter often without any warning. Though not every province across Canada has a winter tire mandate, getting them installed is an important thing to consider, especially if you plan to drive regularly. Already own a set? Keep in mind winter tires are generally meant to last a handful of seasons,though this can vary depending on the make and model. When in doubt, seek the advice of a local auto maintenance shop. 

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