Winter weather and icy conditions can play havoc on a vehicle, in more ways than one.
Taking extra steps, with some insider knowledge, can help extend the lifespan of a vehicle, and help keep folks safe during this holiday season.
Brian Westerhaug, owner and red seal journeyman mechanic over at Ahklut Automotive in Swift Current, understands more about everything between the tires and sunroof than most and is happy to share some of that knowledge.
The first tip Westerhaug offers is to make sure to change out your air filters for the winter, as they can become plugged up with dirt and dust during the summer.
"If it can't breathe, it will make that engine work harder," shared Westerhaug. "Also with tire pressures, make sure your they're at manufacturer specification because if the tire pressures are low, it does make a big difference on your suspension."
If pressure is too high, it forces the suspension to take on a larger burden for each bump and slump in the road. The same thing goes for low tire pressure. Too low and the tires can begin to deform and wear down due to the cold.
Many diesel owners are more than aware that they should let their vehicles warm up before taking off in the morning when the below zeros take over the forecast. What few and far between are ever taught is that it's also important to let a diesel engine cool down after riding on the highway.
"It's not good on diesel's to actually just straight shut them off," confirms Westerhaug. "It's called a cold soak, and it could actually hurt your internals and your turbo."
Giving your coal roller a minute or two to idle after reaching a long-distance destination allows the engine's cooling system to take care of the heat, instead of the frigid air of the season gifting you engine block treason.
When driving down icy roads, slowing down and proceeding with caution is always a smart move. If there's snow on the road, it can prove to be better for traction to keep your tires in the powder.
"Snow, believe it or not, has a lot more traction than ice does," Westerhaug assured. " I guess not deep snow. Don't try and play in the deep snow because that always ends badly. The trick to winter driving is making sure you have good tires and that your vehicle is up in its maintenance."
With Christmas fast approaching, many families and individuals will be taking to the highways in and around Swift Current. Take care to watch for black ice, and remember that if you can see the reflection of a vehicle or its lights on the road, it indicates an icy surface.