McGregor Says: Winterizing in the Lower Mainland

A sure sign of the changing seasons is all the TV ads for winterizing our vehicles. We are encouraged to make sure we are prepared for the arrival of the winter driving season.

We learn from TV that our all-season tires are not actually considered winter tires. We find out that our anti-freeze breaks down over time.

We hear that our oil should be changed to a thinner viscosity.

In the old days, we had snow tires and summer tires. Now we have three-season tires, mud and snow tires and all-season tires and they come in various types of tread designs suited to our driving.

In the Lower Mainland, the bald tire is the most common type found on vehicles and we have mastered hydroplaning through puddles as a means of getting through heavy traffic.

All of that winterizing information is for the rest of the province.

In the Lower Mainland of B.C., winterizing your car means buying new windshield wipers.

In my years in the tire business, on the first day of snow I would ask customers, “What brings you out on such a nasty day?” The reply was usually, “I had to get my snow tires on.”

If they had just waited a day, it would be raining again.

An acquaintance of mine is being transferred to Ottawa. He is already moaning about the fact that he had to buy warmer suits and top coats, gloves, scarves and boots. I asked him if he had a block heater in his car and he looked at me as if I had spoken in a foreign language.

“What is a block heater and why would I need one?” he queried.

“You plug in your block heater at night, it keeps your engine block warm so your oil won’t thicken up and your engine will turn over easier in the – 40 temperatures.”

He paled and I think he swooned a bit as he considered the merits of his new promotion.

I have relatives in Saskatchewan and Alberta and when they send pictures of ice storms, massive snow drifts or blizzards, I counter with a photo of my own. It is of a plastic lawn chair tipped over on my patio, surrounded by green grass and flowers.

I add a caption: “We had a strong wind blow through here last night as well!”

My nephew in Calgary has warned me of where that chair will end up if I ever send him that picture again. He always says that he is just waiting for the big West Coast earthquake and when Vancouver tumbles into the Pacific, he won’t gloat, he’ll just smile, safe and sound behind the cover of the Rocky Mountains.

A friend of mine was hired as the fire chief in Fort Nelson a few years back. He arrived there in August, leaving his career in North Vancouver.

In mid-September the firefighters began taking out eight-foot sign posts with pictures of fire hydrants on them.

When the new chief inquired, they advised him the signs were put by the hydrants so they could find them in the snow in the winter. He had never seen those signs in North Vancouver.

My geraniums started blooming again last weekend, I’m not sure how to winterize them.  They say winter temperatures will be five to seven degrees higher this year, so don’t pack your shorts away yet.

At least that’s what McGregor says.