Preparing Your Vehicle for a Northern Ontario Winter

Motor Vehicle Collision Highway 11
Motor Vehicle Collision Highway 11

As November approaches, the weather in Northern Ontario becomes increasingly harsh. With temperatures often plummeting below freezing, preparing your vehicle for winter is not just a wise choice—it’s a necessity. This guide will cover steps to winterize your vehicle and essential items to carry for safe highway journeys.

Winterizing Your Vehicle

  1. Winter Tires:
    • Swap your all-season tires for winter tires. Winter tires have deeper treads that provide better traction on snow and ice.
  2. Battery Check:
    • Cold weather can be harsh on your battery. Have it tested and replace it if needed.
  3. Fluids:
    • Ensure that your vehicle’s fluids, including antifreeze and windshield washer fluid, are topped up.
  4. Brake Inspection:
    • Have a professional inspect your brakes to ensure they are working correctly.
  5. Heating System:
    • Ensure that your vehicle’s heating system is working properly to keep you warm during your travels.
  6. Lights and Signals:
    • Check that all lights and signals are functioning correctly. Replace any burnt-out bulbs.

Essential Safety Items for Highway Journeys

  1. Emergency Kit:
    • Prepare an emergency kit with essentials like a first-aid kit, flashlight, batteries, blanket, non-perishable food, and water.
  2. Snow Shovel and Ice Scraper:
    • These tools will be invaluable if you find yourself stuck in snow or need to clear your windshield.
  3. Sand or Kitty Litter:
    • For added traction if you get stuck in the snow.
  4. Jumper Cables:
    • Essential for restarting your vehicle in case the battery dies.
  5. Extra Clothing and Blankets:
    • Keep extra warm clothing and blankets to keep warm in case of an emergency.
  6. Fully Charged Phone or Portable Charger:
    • To call for help if necessary.
  7. Maps:
    • Have physical maps on hand in case electronic devices fail.


Proper preparation for winter driving in Northern Ontario is essential for ensuring not only the smooth operation of your vehicle but also your safety and that of others on the road. By following the steps outlined above to winterize your vehicle and pack essential safety items, you’ll be ready to face the challenging winter conditions that lie ahead.

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