Here at Southgate Volkswagen, we know that it can be tough maintaining your Volkswagen in Edmonton’s cold weather. Cold garage floors, or worse yet snow covered driveways, are about as inviting as those -30℃ days in January. But with a little bit of work and foresight, you can winterize your Volkswagen and keep it running smoothly right into the road trip worthy spring and summer days. So read on for a few tricks and tips to make sure you take the proper care of your investment.
The first step toward maintaining your Volkswagen in Edmonton’s cold weather periods is to properly prep your vehicle for winter. The importance of regularly scheduled maintenance and service cannot be overstated. Regular oil changes are just the start, before every winter you should be topping up all of your fluids with ones that are freeze-resistant like windshield washer fluid and engine coolant. Try to keep at least a half a tank of fuel at all times in case of an accident or a snowstorm — we don’t know anyone who likes pumping gas on the best of days let alone during snow, wind, or anything else Mother Nature throws your way. Also important is checking your brakes; it can be hard enough to stop on icy roads, especially when you’re driving on worn brake pads. Finally, before winter hits, test your vehicle’s battery as winter is tough on batteries, especially if you park outdoors. Many automotive shops and even some stores can do this for you, and it could mean the difference between you driving home in a toasty vehicle, or freezing roadside waiting for AMA to tow you.
It’s Wheely, Wheely Cold Out
Another important step in maintaining your Volkswagen in Edmonton’s cold weather is making sure you’re riding the right rubber. Winter tires are not a gimmick meant to sell more tires no matter what your uncle Steve says. Winter tires are made up of different chemical compounds than summer or all season tires, and can handle lower temperatures before they freeze and lose the elasticity that helps them grip the road. In addition to making sure you are using winter tires, check their pressure. Every time the temperature drops about 12℃, your tires will lose a pound of pressure. Considering the wild swings in temperature we are subject to in Alberta, your tires can lose a lot of pressure in a hurry. And the idea of getting better traction on an under-inflated tire is a bit of a myth — the idea of softer tires being able to cover more surface area only works if the surface is soft aw well. Since most of your winter driving will be done on hard-packed snow, ice, or cleared road, this information falls flat. Finally, we know all this talk about tires is starting to run a little thin, but when you fill up your tires make sure you put the valve cap back on your tire after you fill it (or replace any cracked or missing valve caps), because if moisture gets inside the tire and freezes the valve core of your tire is at risk of cracking.
Don’t Forget To Wipe!
Wiper blades are another part of your car that can easily be neglected. Did you know that wiper blades only have a life expectancy of about 6 months to a year. With regular cleaning you can stretch it a little bit, but most wiper blades are inexpensive and easy to replace, so do yourself a favour and replace them. Modern, “beam blade” style wipers don’t have an external spring, making them better for winter. Try not to leave your wipers on when you turn your car off, as when you start it up it causes undue stress on the vehicle and the blades. Its also good practice to pop your wiper blades up if you are parking outside for an extended period of time, making it easier to scrape away any snow or ice and keep the blades from freezing to the windshield. And if you don’t own a good scraper or brush, get one immediately. They’re cheap, readily available, and are of the utmost importance when it comes to cleaning your windows (and being able to see the road).
There are a few more tips for maintaining your Volkswagen in Edmonton’s cold weather and making your commute both safer and more bearable, like packing a winter survival kit. Now this kit can contain anything that helps you pass the time should you be stuck on the side of the road, so your favourite novel isn’t out of the question, but there are a few things you will definitely want to pack in case of emergency, including but not limited to: a whistle, a plastic bag, a plumber’s candle and lighter, a single-edged razor blade, snacks, a flashlight, and an extra battery or charging source for your phone. You’ll also want to pack a space blanket (also known as an emergency blanket) within reach of the vehicle’s driver. In case you are stuck in your vehicle upside down on the side of the road, the best packed emergency kit in the trunk of your vehicle will be of no help.
These are just some tips for maintaining your Volkswagen in Edmonton’s cold weather climate, but for more information come visit us at Southgate Volkswagen and talk to any member of our experienced sales staff. And remember, all of the preparation will do you no good if you aren’t safe — so drive slow and steady, and stay alert and in control while driving during the winter months.