posted on December 22, 2020

Is your vehicle ready for Canadian winter? You may know how to handle your car on snowy nights and slippery roads, but that doesn’t mean your guests do. When sharing your car on Turo, it’s important to make sure you’re providing a safe and comfortable experience. 

To learn the ins and outs of managing your listings in winter and cash in on the busy holiday season, review these tips and insights from our most experienced Turo hosts who know both Canadian winter and the Canadian marketplace. 

Warm up your car

Remind guests to warm up the car before taking off. Keep in mind that every car has different warm up requirements. Older cars may need several minutes while newer cars may only need 30 seconds

Let your guests know if your car requires some time to warm up. Veego in Toronto includes warm-up instructions in the listing description for his 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan, which gives guests the information they need to treat his car well.

If you’ve got an electric vehicle, warming up your car is even more important since cold batteries lose their efficiency. If you’re a Tesla owner, let your guests know to keep an eye out for the snowflake icon, which means that the battery is cold. When your car’s not in use, keep it plugged in, so it can retain its heat and better support regenerative braking. 

Inspect your wipers and replace them if needed

Elan S. in Toronto stresses the importance of inspecting your windshield wipers regularly, especially in winter. Does the blade look worn? Is there any rust? Have you noticed any streaking when the wipers are in use? If so, get them replaced. Poor visibility is one of the leading causes of car accidents. 

Speaking of visibility, ensure your rear window defrosters are in good working condition as well. When rear windows are blocked, drivers have a massive blind spot and have to rely on their side mirrors.  

You’ll also want to give your guests a quick tutorial on how to put their wipers in service position – standing up straight, perpendicular to the hood of the car – when they park outside in cold weather. On some cars, drivers can easily do this manually but other cars, like luxury or electric vehicles, have a particular process. You’ll also want to show your guests how to deactivate mirror auto-fold when there’s a lot of ice build up.

Check your tire pressure

In very cold weather, it’s typically a good idea to add a little more air to your tires. Elan always starts monitoring tire pressure when the temperature drops. According to experts, tire pressure decreases by 1 to 2 pounds per square inch for every ten-degree drop in temperature. When tires have low air pressure, more of the surface area touches the ground leading to increased wear and tear and a higher chance of a blow out. 

Check your tire pressure regularly when driving and car sharing in winter. If your tire pressure light turns on, or starts flashing during the booking, your guest may return your car. Keep your guests and vehicle safe by being proactive.

Install snow tires and comply with your province’s regulations

No matter which province you live in, it’s best practice to install winter tires during the colder months Every province has its own laws around when winter tires are mandatory. BC requires winter tires and chains on cars travelling through most routes from October 1 to April 30. Regulatory signs mark these routes. They’re also mandatory in Quebec from December 1 to March 15.

Winter tires are not mandatory in Nova Scotia, Alberta, or Ontario, but they are still a good idea to have in those provinces. Guests often search for cars using the “snow tires/chains” filter. So if you’re able to offer winter tires, you’ll help make your listing that much more competitive.

Check your antifreeze

Double check your antifreeze levels while topping up your washer fluid levels as well. It keeps the water in your drivetrain at a suitable temperature and ensures everything’s properly lubricated. Taking a minute to check your antifreeze levels can prevent any breakdowns while your car is out with a guest. If you’re not familiar with how much antifreeze you need, make sure to check your vehicle’s manual and ask your mechanic.

Throw an emergency kit in the back of your car

An emergency kit can prevent car trouble from turning into a car disaster. We recommend creating a car emergency kit to keep in your trunk. Hopefully, your guests will never need it, but if they hit some bad weather, they’ll be grateful it’s there.The essentials for a winter emergency kit include: a flashlight with batteries, ice scraper, non-perishable food, water, extra antifreeze, a car toolkit, external battery pack, and some extra warm clothes. 

If your guest gets caught in a snowstorm, you don’t want them using an improvised method for snow removal and scratching your windshield. Elan says he’s prepping for the winter season by putting snow brushes and an extra jug of washer fluid in his cars, which include a 2020 Tesla Model Y and a 2017 Hyundai Elantra, among others. Philipp B., who manages a fleet of cars in Montreal, says he buys his windshield washer fluid in bulk. Yifan F., a veteran Toronto host, tops up on fluid after every trip.

Keep your gas tank at least half full

Try to fill up your tank more often during the winter — keeping more fuel in your car’s system will help prevent any freezing and lower the chances anyone gets stranded. And in an emergency, your engine may be the only thing that keeps your guests warm while they wait for help. 

Lubricate your locks

Spray a graphite-based car lubricant into your keyholes to prevent frozen locks. Do this only once a year at the beginning of winter to avoid jamming your locks.

Throw in rubber mats

Salt stains and other winter messes can be a pain to clean off the interior of your car, especially between trips. While you should always be sanitizing your car between every trip, Sofiane A. in Montreal says you should prepare to wash your car’s interior after every trip during winter. Rubber mats limit the amount of salt stain scrubbing you have to do. 

Winter is coming, and you’ve got everything you need to succeed. Seize the opportunity of the busy holiday season by preparing your car for the cold weather to ensure safe and comfortable guest experiences.