5 Ways to Check Your Car Has Survived the Winter
Feb 22, 2022 • 5 min read
For this blog, we teamed up with our partner Fairstone, a responsible Canadian lender for almost 100 years.
Cold temperatures can put stress on your car. By getting ahead on car maintenance, you can keep the winter weather from wrecking your vehicle and your budget. If you’re not sure what to look out for when assessing your car, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve identified key areas you should keep your eyes on when checking up on your car.
If you come across an issue to fix but there’s no room in your budget, the good news is you still have options. Some auto repair shops offer in-house financing, or you can get a car repair loan – also known as a personal loan. Fairstone offers car repair loans from $500 to $50,000 to cover emergency car repairs or regular maintenance through affordable loan payments, making your car repairs more manageable to pay for.
Here are five things you should check to make sure your car has survived the winter unscathed.
The underbody panel of your car can be vulnerable to damage any time of year, but driving over a snowdrift in the winter can quickly become an expensive problem if any parts are ripped off the panel or the mounting hardware becomes damaged.
It’s a good idea to look under your car from time to time, starting from the front, to see if anything is loose or hanging. Maybe you can easily get it back into place, or perhaps a zip tie or some duct tape will take care of it. Either way, it’s important to make sure everything is securely in place.
Check for Corrosion
Car manufacturers have come a long way in improving resistance to corrosion, but our long, Canadian winters can still take a toll.
Give your car a good look-over, preferably after a wash, for any scratches or dings where the damage goes through the paint, and you can see bare metal underneath. These deep scratches need to be sealed with paint as soon as possible, as road salt can quickly get into the scratch and exacerbate what could have been just a small problem.
Of course, professional repair is most effective, but there are two quick fixes you can implement yourself. The most basic fix is to clean the area with solvent like acetone or rubbing alcohol, and then apply a clear coat of paint (even nail polish will do). Even better, you can purchase an inexpensive touch-up paint pen in your car’s colour to cover the scratches and stop the car from rusting.
Check Your Winter Tires
As you get ready to switch your tires back, it’s a good time to take a close look at your winter tires to see if they’ll live to fight another season. The most important thing to check, in terms of both safety and performance, is tread depth. The easiest way to do this is to look for the tire tread wear bar indicators, which are located at the bottom of the tread grooves in several locations around the tire. When these bars become flush with the tread, this is your sign to invest in new tires.
Tip: When changing winter tires, it’s a good rule of thumb to investigate the thickness of your brake pads to ensure they’ll function as expected.
Check the Battery
Your car's battery is especially vulnerable to plummeting temperatures. Maintenance of a car battery is usually best left to a professional, as they have tools to measure the battery’s output and test its performance. But there are still some telltale signs to be on the lookout for, like corrosion forming at the posts or cable connections.
To check a conventional battery, remove the plastic caps on the top and check the fluid level (see your owner's manual for more detailed instructions). If the fluid is low, add distilled water.
Remember: Maintenance is Better than Repair
Keeping on top of regular maintenance is key to avoiding big, costly repair jobs down the road, or even having to replace your car altogether! Unfortunately, maintenance work isn’t exactly cheap either. If winter has taken its toll on your car and it needs some professional attention, the resulting bill can really blow a hole in your budget.
A car maintenance loan from Fairstone could help you manage the expense of vehicle repairs or maintenance like oil changes, new brakes, or replacing old batteries and tires, and could ultimately save you money down the road by prolonging the life of your vehicle.
You’ve worked hard to pay for your car, so don’t write it off when it needs work. Whether you have to fix your car or cover vehicle maintenance costs, a loan can be a great way to keep your car on the road and to help you get from A to B.
The Bottom Line
Regular car maintenance is your first line of defense against the winter weather, and the number one way to avoid costly repair jobs. Keeping these tips in mind will help keep your car in good shape, hopefully for many winters to come.
One final tip: When your car or vehicle loan is paid off, continue budgeting for your payment and move this money into your savings. That way you have money in case of emergency repairs, or a down payment saved for a new vehicle when the time comes.
Get a Loan Quote from Fairstone
Ready to give your car some TLC? Apply for a Fairstone car repair loan in 3 steps:
Try a free loan quote at Fairstone.ca - it's quick and won't impact your credit score. In minutes, you'll find out how much money you could qualify for and what your payments might be.
Fairstone is Canada’s leading provider of responsible lending solutions for near-prime borrowers. With over 240 branches coast to coast, Fairstone provides personal loans and home equity loans designed to suit today’s borrowing needs. Fairstone also partners with a wide network of businesses to deliver flexible retail point-of-sale and automobile financing programs. With roots in Canada for almost 100 years, Fairstone is committed to making a difference in local communities.