winter guide hero

Getting Your Car Ready for Winter

Auto Tips & Advice

When should I install my winter tires?

You should install your winter tires when the temperature consistently approaches freezing.

Installation and more:

Ask a technician to make sure the tires are rotated from where they were during the last winter season. You should also ask for the remaining tread depth to be measured and the air pressure to be adjusted.

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Air Pressure

Check your tire pressure each month

Tires lose pressure as the temperature drops. For example, if a tire has a pressure of 29 psi at 62º F, the pressure may be only 26 psi at 32ºF. So it’s really important to check your pressure at least once a month.

Adjusting pressure in cold temperatures

If you are adjusting your tire pressure outside in ambient temperature, set it to the vehicle manufacturers’ recommended pressures. Only adjust pressure when tires are cold---either stationary for 3 hours or more or driven less than 1 mile.

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Tire storage

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If you have multiple sets of tires, proper tire storage is a must. (Just setting them off in the corner of your garage isn’t enough.) Proper storage ensures that your tires’ appearance and performance are maintained. Before you store your tires, be sure to inspect each one for damage or uneven wear.

How to store your tires

  • Store your tires indoors in a clean, cool and dark location away from direct sunlight, sources of heat and ozone such as hot pipes or electric generators.
  • Be sure the surfaces on which tires are stored are clean and free from grease, gasoline or other substances that could deteriorate the rubber.
  • If storing outdoors raise tires off the ground and use water proof covering with holes to prevent moisture build-up.
  • If tires are on vehicle, store on blocks to remove load from the tires. Maintain placard inflation pressure.
  • If your tires have whitewall or raised white lettering, store them with the whitewall or raised white lettering facing each other. Otherwise, black rubber could stain them. (The results are not pretty.)
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About snow chains

Snow chains should be used on packed snow.

If you don't own a set, quality retailers can advise you on the most suitable snow chains for your vehicle and tire size. There should be, on average, a minimum of 12 chains crossing the tire.

Before your journey, take time to learn how to install and remove the chains efficiently.

If you're travelling to certain ski resorts you may be required to install snow chains (check before you travel).

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Windshield safety

A small crack on the windshield may, in the extreme cold, become a large crack. Therefore you should repair it before winter sets in.

Make sure your windshield washer fluid tank is full and in good condition.

Do not dilute windshield washer fluid with water: it could freeze at low temperatures.

Winter material check list

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In case of emergencies, you may get stuck or need to spend time in your car waiting for help. Make sure that your vehicle is equipped with:

  1. Four winter-capable tires
  2. A shovel
  3. A tire gauge, jack, and fully inflated spare
  4. Gravel, salt, or a small piece of carpet
  5. Non-perishable food and water
  6. Jumper cables
  7. Emergency flares
  8. Warm clothes or a blanket
  9. A first-aid kit
  10. Windshield washer fluid
  11. Head light or lamp

Before getting on the road

1- Plan your route and check road conditions

Checking reports on road conditions will help you make driving decisions and avoid dangerous situations. If conditions are particularly bad, you may want to stay off the roads.

2- Emergency phone numbers

Identify the person/people to call in case of emergency (ICE) by putting these three letters before their name(s) in your list of cell phone contacts.

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3- Check your fluids

Make sure you always have at least half a tank of gas to avoid a frozen fuel line. Also, carry extra windshield washer fluid to ensure proper visibility.

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