At this point of the year, Ontarians are starting to prepare for what’s to come. Those of us in southwestern Ontario have had a bit of frost, but no snow… yet. It’s a good time to do a check-up, not only for tire safety, but for emergency supplies too.
I had to buy and put on my winter tires early, as I didn’t want to risk a snowfall with only summer tires. I have gone without snow tires in this region before, but they do make all the difference and I feel safer with them on. Checking fluid levels while the weather is still mild is wise, as well as checking that your spare tire and jack are in good/functioning order (even if you have CAA Auto Assistance), as well as your wipers. And I suggest putting the necessary winter supplies into your vehicle in preparation for snowfall (ice scrapers, snow brushes, etc.) and having a back-up handy in your home or garage in the event that your vehicle is iced over [because that has happened to me before].
Following the primary checks, I also like to do a full clean out of my car and check-up on supplies. This includes using the Shop-Vac to vac the seats, interior nooks and crannies, and the floors (after dumping out the rocks, leaves and dirt if you are lucky enough to have full protection floor mats), conditioning the seats if applicable (for leather), and I highly recommend applying Rain-X on the windshield, year-round. I also find this is a good time to re-organize, making sure you know where your fuel funnel (for capless cars) and lock nut key are located.
Aside from the physical aspects of the vehicle, you should check your emergency supplies as well. Keeping a set of ‘every day’ emergency supplies can also come in handy when in need – duct tape, work gloves, screw driver set, bungee cords of various sizes, small air compressor, jumper cables, a Leatherman multi-tool, tarp, flashlight, emergency blanket, shop paper towels, dried snacks (pretzels, granola bars), modern day battery charger (USB power pack), sanitizer, and a basic first aid kit. I also keep a back-up bag in my vehicle with overnight necessities – a change of clothes (including a warm hoodie, hat and gloves), toothbrush and paste, hair brush, and a few other supplies I might use if I ever needed to spend the night away from home or have an actual emergency.
Of course, these tips are general and whether you travel 20km or 100km on a regular basis, your necessary items may change. If you have any other suggestions or tips for winter preparedness, I’d love to hear them!
I'm a 20-something woman working my way through life in Canada, traveling when I can afford it and seeking out my passions one day at a time.