The ultimate winter driving checklist: Everything you need for snow

The weather outside may be frightful, but don’t fret — Canadian Tire makes it easy to Take On Winter, so you can be ready for everything that comes with it. From how to avoid common snow removal mistakes to must-haves for winter driving, we’re bringing you the tips you need to tackle winter weather with confidence.

Woman scraping ice over her car windshield using a snowbrush from Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

Winter can be a magical time, packed with plenty of opportunities for seasonal fun, but those beautiful snowfalls and frosty temperatures also mean Canadians need to take extra care on the roads during the winter months. That’s why it’s extra important to make sure both you and your car are ready for the season.

Not sure how to properly prep your car for winter, or just in need of a refresher? Follow this winter driving checklist to make sure you’re equipped to take on winter roads.

Winter-proof your vehicle

Let’s start with the basics to ensure your car is ready for winter weather, inside and out.

From all-season to winter-ready

Elderly man refilling his car's windshield washer fluid with winter washer fluid
Photo via Canadian Tire

If you haven’t already, make an appointment to switch from all-season tires to a set of winter tires. It’s also a good idea to change over to winter washer fluid at the same time. Reflex All Season Windshield Washer Fluid guards against freezing down to -45°C, and comes with a special de-icer to cut through ice, frost and salt, making it perfect for winter—and the rest of the year too.

Switch to rubber floor mats

Road salt helps make winter roads safer, but it can also do a number on your vehicle’s carpeting. Help prevent unsightly salt stains by replacing your current fabric liners with a set of rubber floor mats to keep your car’s interior protected from salt, slush and snow.

Consider a windshield cover

No one enjoys scraping ice off their windshield when it’s -20° out – which is where a windshield cover can come in handy. The Reflex Collapsible Windshield Cover features adjustable straps to fit most vehicles and folds up for easy storage, making it a winter gamechanger.

Check your snowbrush for damage

Woman brushing snow off her car's windshield using a telescoping snowbrush from Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

Windshield cover or not, you’re still going to need a dependable snow brush, especially for those really heavy snowfalls. At the start of the season, check your existing brush for damaged bristles, which could cause scratches and swirl marks on your paint job. Need a new brush? The Reflex Telescopic Snow Broom extends from 36” to 50”, giving you plenty of coverage, with an ice scraper on one end and a pivoting brush head on the other to make sweeping snow off your car a cinch. Or try the Garant Telescopic Scratch Free Snow Brush, which features a bristle-free foam head and innovative design to make it easier to clear awkward spots like your side mirrors and wiper wells.

Don’t forget about under the hood

Winter isn’t just tough on the outside of your vehicle, it can be hard on vital engine parts too.

Check your battery

Woman using booster cables to jumpstart her car's battery during winter
Photo via Canadian Tire

Freezing temperatures take a toll on your vehicle’s battery, especially if it wasn’t built to withstand cold weather. Luckily, the MotoMaster Eliminator AGM Battery was made for extreme cold, delivering powerful and reliable starting, even in vehicles that sit unused for days or weeks at a time.

Have a car tricked out with modern accessories, like a high-end sound system? The Optima Yellowtop High-Performance AGM Battery offers premium starting power and impressive cycling capabilities, giving it up to three times longer service life, even in colder temperatures. As a reminder, always triple-check to make sure you have the right size and fit for your specific make/model before purchasing a new battery.

Have a booster pack handy

Booster packs are the ultimate better-safe-than-sorry winter driving essential; you’d rather have one and not need it than need one and not have it. Coming out to a dead battery is no one’s idea of winter fun.

Ideally, you’ll want something compact that won’t take up much room, but still packs a punch, like the NOCO Genius GB70 Boost HD Booster Pack/Jump Starter. This small yet mighty device provides up to 40 jump starts on a single charge, is rated for temperatures down to -30°C, comes with a built-in flashlight, and also doubles as a portable USB charger for your devices—all in a package that’s tiny enough to fit in your glove compartment.

Keep your trunk stocked in case of emergency

Vehicles break down. It’s a part of life. But freezing temperatures make a winter breakdown more than just an inconvenience, which is why it’s so important to ensure you’re prepared in the event of a roadside emergency.

Pack a safety kit

Woman putting winter driving safety essentials from Canadian Tire in her trunk, including winter washer fluid, a booster pack, winter battery, first aid kit and winter safety kit for roadside emergencies
Photo via Canadian Tire

Along with extra sets of warm clothes, gloves and toques, a winter safety kit is a must-have for Canadian drivers. This Commuter Auto Safety Kit comes with all the basic essentials you’ll need in case of emergency, including booster cables, a flashlight, signal cone, blanket, and more. Most importantly though, it also includes one year of Canadian Tire’s Roadside Assistance, so you can rest easy knowing help is only a phone call away if you need it.

MotoMaster’s Premium Auto Safety Kit comes with the same Roadside Assistance plan, plus additional winter musts like an air compressor and tow strap, as well as a 60-piece first aid kit, duct tape and cable ties. All that, plus a tool kit with a multi-tool, tire gauge, and screwdriver, makes this comprehensive safety kit the ideal winter driving companion no matter where you’re going this season.

Booster cables are a must

Having a set of booster cables in the trunk is a good idea year-round, but even more so during winter. Even if you don’t end up needing them yourself, chances are you’ll run into someone who could use the helping hand. For small and mid-size cars, SUVs, and trucks, a set of MotoMaster’s medium-duty booster cables should do the trick. These powerful 4 gauge cables extended up to 16 feet, giving you plenty of flexibility whether you need to connect front-to-front, side-to-side, or front-to-back. Plus, the tangle-free cables come with PVC insulation to remain flexible even in freezing temps.

For larger vehicles that require a bit more juice, you can’t go wrong with MotoMaster Eliminator 20-ft, 2 Gauge Booster Cables. These professional-grade cables are made from 100% copper for maximum boosting power, and much like MotoMaster's Eliminator batteries, they’re built for extreme cold, remaining flexible down to -50°C.

As Canadians, we don’t shy away from winter, we embrace it — and Canadian Tire is here to help you make the most of the season. Whether you’re looking for snow removal hacks, tips to improve your indoor air quality for a healthier home, or fun ways to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, Canadian Tire has everything you need so you can Take On Winter.