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Extreme Cold Weather Vehicle Prep

No matter where you live in North America, and even if you have only the faintest interest in current events, in all probability this first week of 2018 has taught you a new term for extreme winter weather — ‘bomb cyclone.’ And, in connection with the same, possibly reminded you of the lesson of Aesop’s The Ant and the Grasshopper. Most of North America has been gripped by extremely cold weather, high winds, snow, sleet, and ice. A ‘bomb cyclone’ has delivered these conditions to areas of the eastern and southeastern United States that normally have almost no need to prepare for such harshness. (Of course, the term has a specific definition— a very extreme drop in atmospheric pressure of at least 24 millibars in 24 hours.)

The fable, in turn, illustrates the virtue of Providence, the ant working hard in the summer months to store food for the winter contrasted with the improvident grasshopper reduced to begging for food in the winter after having sung and played his way through the easy summer time.

With the exception of sports enthusiasts, Vancouverites, like US southeasterners are probably more like ‘the grasshopper’ when it comes to winterizing their vehicles. After all, extreme winter conditions are rare, the lower mainland climate moderated by proximity to the ocean. Plus, the lower mainland ‘fleet’ is generally composed of later model vehicles, which are highly reliable, equipped with the latest advancements in car part technology.

Nevertheless, tending towards the ant’s approach to life is generally ‘the better way,’ and, indeed, being prepared in the winter months for whatever the elements may deliver is not only prudent but also considerate. Drivers who succumb to winter driving conditions—slip off the road, slide into other vehicles, break down, etc. because they are unprepared foul things up for other road users, present a danger to themselves and others, and contribute to making already difficult conditions even more so.


The following is a checklist for winterizing your vehicle:

From artofmanlienes.com and howthingswork.com, 13 things to keep in the car:

         1. Fully charged  cell phone

         2. Flashlight

         3. Roadside flares/reflective triangle

         4. Granola/power bars

         5. Bottled water

         6. Warm blankets

         7. First aid kit

         8. Windshield scraper

         9. Jumper cables

         10. Tow strap

         11. Folding Shovel

         12. Life Hammer  “When you are trying to escape from a sinking car, used to break your window”

         13. Portable air compressor


Further considerations from the same sources:

         – Make sure your 4-Wheel Drive works

         – Check your car’s seat belts and hoses

         – Replace windshield wipers and wiper fluid

         – Check your defrosting and heating units

         – Keep your fuel tank full

         – Put in the right amount of antifreeze

         – Check your oil and oil viscosity

         – Check your battery

         – Check your tire pressure and consider/switch to snow tires

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