Are You Ready?
Despite our lovely string of weather, winter has provided a few warnings of its impending arrival.
November is the month to enjoy some last stretches of mild to warm weather, but also the time to get winter ready.
What does it mean to be ready for winter? Well, that depends on where you live.
For most Canadians, it often means making sure your vehicle and snowblower are ready to go.
Here are few essential tips to help you on your way to be winter-ready.
For your vehicle, it’s highly recommended by experts and anyone who has found themselves in a scary situation to switch to winter tires.
Winter tires are made to handle winter conditions and are made with more traction, giving them faster stopping abilities should an emergency occur. While all-seasons may be legal in many provinces, they don’t perform as well as winter-specific tires in harsh conditions: you can’t put a price on safety.
And don’t skimp out on price. While not everyone’s budget can afford the highest level winter tires, it’s best not to go with the cheapest either. Rather find a middle of the road winter that will last you at least two seasons.
When getting ready for your tire change, be sure to book your spot early with your dealership or mechanic; they get very busy, very quickly after the first significant snowfall.
Other important ways to get your vehicle ready for the winter are getting an oil change; checking the battery to make sure it will start on those minus-35 degree Celsius mornings; replacing the windshield wiper blades with ones strong enough to handle ice and snow; filling up your washer fluid (which you should be doing regularly); checking the coolant; and installing floor mats to protect your interior from salt and sand.
Plus, get a fall tune-up where your mechanic will go over the brakes, belts, hoses, filters and other important systems.
In case you don’t already have one, pack an emergency kit which includes a warm blanket, flashlight and other items to keep you protected if your car breaks down on a winter day or night.
Oh, yeah and this year you should already be COVID ready – with wipes, hand sanitizer, tissues, a spare mask, and other protective items.
As for your snowblower, the first thing to do is make sure your gas tank is emptied (if you put it away in the spring without doing so), then with the equipment fully powered off, check the cables and auger are in good condition.
Depending on your model, an oil change may also be a good idea as you prepare for heavy use in the winter.
When using a battery or electric powered snowblower, it’s important to fully charge the batteries – and keep them that way throughout the winter – so you’re always ready for a winter storm.
Another part of being ready for snowblower use is to clear your yard, driveway and pathways of objects such as toys, hoses, balls and other items that can clog and damage your machine (or be thrown dangerously at people in the vicinity).
If you don’t have a snowblower, ensure your shovels are in good working order with no cracks and make sure to purchase at least one back up – the worst thing in the world is needing to clear a driveway and not having the tools to do it.
While not always deemed a necessity, having a generator is a good idea in remote areas. If you have one, be sure to keep it in good condition and follow the maintenance instructions in the owners’ manual.
Hope these tips help you get winter-ready this year! Be safe and take care!
By Chris Occhiuzzi, special to HuntersBayRadio.com
When Chris isn’t writing stories for HuntersBayRadio.com, Dockside Publishing or running MuskokaUnlimited.com, you can find him volunteering his time as a coach and board member for the Huntsville Soccer Club.