Some basic vehicle maintenance could go a long way in making winter driving a bit less stressful.
 
Having the right equipment and fluids in a vehicle can make a huge difference in performance over the cold months.
 
"Making sure all the components are running properly, your regularly scheduled maintenance is up to date and that your engine antifreeze is at the proper strength," explained Fort Saskatchewan Jiffy Lube owner, Jim Martin.
 
Over the winter months, it's important to ensure the engine has the easiest possible conditions for starting. A good place to start is with the oil in the vehicle.
 
"The advantage of synthetic is it flows faster during startup and that is when engine damage is done."
 
In the first few seconds after the engine is started, there isn't any oil in the top end of the motor as it has to be pumped up from the oil pan, located on the bottom of the engine. The easier the fluid flows in cold temperatures, the quicker the pump can get the oil to the top end to begin lubricating and protecting internal components.
 
"A synthetic oil will provide easier starting, putting less stress on the starter and battery."
 
A good way to also ensure an easier start is to check to see if the vehicle's battery is strong. A strong battery sends more power to the starter, in turn providing more cranking power. Making sure the battery is strong can also save a bundle of money as vehicle jumps from a towing company can run over $100 in some cases.
 
Another part to check is the block heater. Make sure the cord is free of damage and that the block heater works when plugged in. This keeps engine fluids at a warm temperature to offer easier and faster pumping as well as warming the engine faster to operating temperature. The block heater is extremely easy to check.
 
"Typically if you plug those in, you can hear them more-or-less sizzle," explained Martin. In some vehicles, the temperature should feel warm when the hood is opened, especially older vehicles.
 
Of course, wiper blades should be checked. If they're "hopping" across the windshield, not completely wiping the window or streaking, it's time for new wiper blades to clear the winter muck off the windshield.
 
A winter checkup and fluid swap can easily be done either at the vehicle dealership or at Jiffy Lube with some checks complimentary.

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