Mechanically Speaking

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

Work has begun on the $10-million, 120-kilometre fibre-optic line from Playmor Junction to north of Nakusp. File photo
Work begins on Slocan Valley fibre-optic line

The $10-million, 120-kilometre fibre-optic line runs from Playmor Junction to north of Nakusp

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

A B.C. police officer shows an approved roadside screening device. Photo: Saanich News file
Woman caught passed out behind the wheel in Trail

Police located the 38-year old in her parked but still running car, and had to rouse her awake.

Jade Osecki leading a Fridays for Future climate march in Nelson in 2020. Photo: Submitted
Nelson Grade 12 student Jade Osecki wins Suzy Hamilton Award

Carolyn Schramm was also honoured in this year’s environmental award for West Kootenay women

Photo courtesy of Mercer Celgar
Mercer Celgar to install new technology thanks to $4.5 million in federal funds

Project features process to improve fibre processing and address regional fibre availability issues

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Most Read