Prepping your car for the colder seasons

Fall is a great time to ensure that your vehicle will serve you well through the harsh winter months. In addition to the regular maintenance such as an oil change, braking system inspection etc. ensure that the rubber components are in good condition.

Tires, coolant hoses, belts and wiper blades undergo great stress as the temperature drops. All-season (or no-season…) tires loose most of their snow traction-power once the tire is over 50% worn. New wiper blades are a great investment – you’ll appreciate them the first time your windshield gets splattered with salt-laden slush while sunshine does its best to blind you!

Winter is a harsh season for man and machine.  Since OHIP is supposed to care for the former, we’ll concentrate on the latter.

Very low temperatures cause materials to act differently than when they’re warm.  Oil, in particular, tends to “harden” as the temperature drops.  The first minute following a cold morning start is extremely critical to engine life.  It takes time for the oil to reach the furthest lubrication points from the oil pump, resulting in reduced protection to moving engine components.

You can alleviate this by letting the engine idle for a couple of minutes before placing the shifter in “drive”.  Once under way, avoid hard acceleration for the next 5 minutes or so of driving.  You can also help by consulting the maintenance section of you owner’s manual and selecting a lower viscosity oil grade as stipulated.  Most cars will be fine with a good quality 5W30 oil.

Did you know that a lot of cars come with a block heater?  Use it on those cold nights and you’ll love that feeling when warm air will pour out of the heater almost immediately when you start your car.  If you are worried about the electricity bill, use a timer to turn the block heater some three hours prior to your expected departure time.

Drive carefully, spring is only 4 months away…

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