Living in Yellowknife

Winter Vehicle Tips – Part 2

To continue with the Winter Vehicles Tips series I will share some more tips I have gathered about actually driving your vehicle in Yellowknife’s winter conditions.

Today - February 4,2009 - 70 copy

Warming up

Once your vehicle has been plugged in for the suggested amount of time from the last set of tips, you should let your vehicle idle for at least a couple minutes. There has been controversy about how long a vehicle needs to idle, but setting aside personal opinions and whether or not it is warm inside your vehicle, it is probably a good idea to let it idle for 5 minutes. Why, because all the liquids need a chance to warm up and get moved around inside the engine to properly do their jobs. Think of it this way, if you start your vehicle and then scrape all your windows, by the time you are done your vehicle should be good to go.

Tire Wear

With all-season tires, ensure the tread will still give traction on slippery roads, and having studs on all four tires is also excellent for traction. If not, then snow tires become your best choice. No matter if you have a front-wheel or a rear-wheel drive vehicle, if you’re going to put on snow or winter tires, all four should be changed. And always store your ‘summer’ tires on their sides as opposed to on their tread, which can cause flat spots and cause them to become unbalanced. Letting a slight bit of air out of your tires can help with traction, but can be a pain when your tire is frozen from sitting all night.

Winter Front

Having a winter front is a good idea for not only your vehicle but for your benefit as well. Having one on your vehicle can speed up with time your heater will blow warm air.

Twist your Wheel

A good tip I learned from a car dealership is about loosening up your power steering. By turning your steering wheel slightly from side to side before you start driving can help loosen the fluid and get it moving for when you are driving. The prevent those pesky blown lines.

Driving the Street

In Yellowknife, the hard packed snow on the roads can be as slippery as ice at -30. It is a good idea to keep a little more distance from the vehicle in front of you and begin starting to stop sooner. Remember braking distance is increased further. Make sure to be more cautious of your surrounding.

Many tips and tricks can be formed for safe driving if you have any of your own remember to share them.

Winter Vehicle Tips – Part 1

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About the author

Kyle Thomas

Kyle grew up in Yellowknife and is a local entrepreneur, writer, baker, and Yellowknife Advocate who is addicted to learning as much as he can about the community and sharing it with anyone who'll listen. In 2009 he developed YkOnline.ca. A website all about living, working and thriving in Yellowknife for residents, newcomers, and visitors.

11 Comments

  • Always keep a set of several candles inside your car when driving during the winter… if you have an accident while driving (especially between NWT communities) burining one at a time will keep you from freezing to death.

  • make sure your car is properly mantained ! regular mainteance and an oil change with arctic oil kept mine running smooth as it does in the summer during the winter.

  • make sure your car is properly mantained ! regular mainteance and an oil change with arctic oil kept mine running smooth as it does in the summer during the winter.

    • Always keep a set of several candles inside your car when driving during the winter… if you have an accident while driving (especially between NWT communities) burining one at a time will keep you from freezing to death.

  • Everywhere I’ve read recommends AGAINST putting only two snow tires on a car. It upsets the car’s balance and the rear end can snap loose if the rear tires have less grip. Always mount four snow tires, period. http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/testDisplay.jsp?ttid=34

  • “For front wheel drive vehicles, your ‘snows’ should be on the front.”

    No. This is terrible advice – really dangerous. On any car, if you have snow tires they should be on all four wheels, but, with front wheel drive, it’s mandatory. If you don’t, the rear end of the car will slide before the front and the car will be uncontrollable.

    • Hi Paul, thanks for the comment. A simple message to us would have been also sufficient to make sure we have the best possible information in the post, which is quite old now.
      We did some quick research and have now added that regardless of front-wheel or rear-wheel drive vehicle, all four tires should either be winter tires or not.

  • In the NWT, there is no law requiring the use of winter tires, thus the car rental companies DO NOT provide cars with snow tires unless you insist that they rent you a vehicle with snow tires… then they seem to be able to find one with appropriate tires.
    We do not have much snow in Yellowknife, but, IMHO, winter tires do help a lot.
    Ask for them, for your own safety… and for the safety of your fellow travelers.

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