Mechanically Speaking

Mechanically Speaking: Be prepared, winter is coming soon

Other than putting on the snow tires what else is there to do?

Winter is coming. Sure, it might be warmer (could be colder) but it will still be winter. Other than putting on the snow tires what else is there to do?

Speaking of putting on snow tires. There is no need to wait for snow. Cold temperatures alone are a good enough reason to put the snow tires on. These tires stay soft at colder temperatures. Soft tires grip a cold road better.

If you take a look through your owner’s manual there is likely no winter maintenance schedule. The engine oil recommended likely covers all temperatures. The cooling system antifreeze is a 50/50 blend that is good all year round. Yes, if you bought your vehicle in Canada it was designed to live in Canada and a Kootenay winter has always been a kind of mild example of a Canadian winter.

Winter weather will likely reveal any weaknesses in your ongoing vehicle maintenance plan. There is a tendency to think changing the engine oil and filter is all that is left to keep a vehicle running but nothing could be more from the truth. Yes, a tune up is still part of a good maintenance practice. So is a good coat of wax. How about a some undercoating?

Vehicles do not demand attention like they used to. Nor do they demand attention as often. Especially if you ignore the warning lights (“It runs fine, those lights are always on”).

Old cars were brought in for service when they got recalcitrant. Stalling, bucking, jerking and not starting were regular symptoms. It would be pretty difficult to go more than a couple of years without a tune up without experiencing one of those symptoms.

Nowadays, maybe a couple of times a year, I get asked to fix a vehicle that stalls. Thus is the marvel of computerized electronic control systems. Bucking and jerking is now a symptom of driving ten years or 200 000 kilometres without a new set of spark plugs.

A vehicle that turns over but does not start again has 200 000 kilometres on the clock needs a fuel pump and has never ever even had a fuel filter replacement.

A modern day tune up has more subtle results. Fuel mileage will go up. Emissions will go down. Your vehicle will cost less to own because it will last a lot longer. That orange check engine light will not be staring you down.

Once you decide to be proactive in the tuneup department why not take it a step further. The bodies on these 21st century vehicles respond very well to just a little extra care. A good detailing twice a year and strategic application of undercoating before each winter can make fifteen to twenty years of service easily attainable.

Tuneup, tires, and wax out of the way? Remember it is cold out there. Think safety; blankets to keep warm, a first aid kit, maybe a shovel, and a flashlight. Be prepared.

Trail’s Ron Nutini is a licensed automotive technician and graduate of mechanical engineering from UBC. E-mail:

Just Posted

Drug use a problem at Trail hockey games, warn RCMP

Police recommend changes to Trail Memorial Centre washrooms

Montrose moves to ban pot retail

Retail, production and distribution of non-medical cannabis sales prohibited under Montrose bylaw

Castlegar, Grand Forks areas to see cleaner winter roads under new contract

YRB set to take over 10-year maintenance contract on Monday

Setting sail to fight kidney disease

Trail’s annual Kidney Walk included an opportunity to raft down the Columbia River

MP Cannings spared brunt of Ottawa tornadoes

MP Richard Cannings was spared the impact of the tornadoes that hit the Ottawa region

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

B.C. could provide clues as to how New Brunswick electoral results shake out

Premier Christy Clark faced a strikingly similar scenario following the province’s 2017 election

Most Read