By Stephen Vance, Editor
While October is my favourite month of the year, it is also the time I begin fretting about the cold, snowy weather on the way.
When it comes to snow, there is almost nothing I enjoy about it. I don’t like driving in it, I don’t like shovelling it, and I don’t like the fact that in the winter months I’m forced to wear heavy coats and boots lest I court the pain of frostbite.
So October for me is when the reality sets in, that in a few weeks, or possibly even a few days, I will have to store away my sandals and cargo shorts in favour of long pants, toques and scarves, and I need to mentally prepare myself for the wonderful chore of keeping the driveway clear.
My disdain for winter likely began when as a young boy my family briefly lived way up north in Thompson, Manitoba. My memories of Thompson are few, but the ones I have are not memories I recall with fondness.
About the only thing I do enjoy about the snowy months is the occasional peaceful evening spent in the warmth of my home while reading a book and watching a snowstorm through my frosted windows and feeling appreciative of being a member of a species that is intelligent enough to build structures and fabricate clothing to protect us from the evils of winter.
One thing I find particularly irritating about winter is the need to prepare my car for the harsh winter conditions.
I’m not a car guy to begin with. I have never had the passion for automobiles that many people have, and I can’t begin to discuss the various parts and their functions found under the hood of my car. If the key goes in the ignition and the car starts, that is pretty much all I care about.
A downside of not having had an interest in, or understanding of the internal workings of the automobile is a lack of trust in auto repair shops who could easily convince me to repair one vehicular doodad or another whether it needs repair or not.
And while I’m certain I have been ‘snowed’ by repair shops in the past, I can say with confidence that since moving to Meaford eight years ago, my trust in auto repair shops has been bolstered.
I’ve used a few repair shops in Meaford, and I’ve found all of them to be fair, honest, and helpful with ensuring I understand what needs to be repaired and why.
I attribute this to one of the beauties of small town life. There’s more concern for your neighbours and ensuring repeat business in a small town, and that is indeed a good thing.
So when mechanics recommend a winter checkup for my car, I no longer stress about paying for unnecessary repairs, though I still grudgingly pry my wallet from my pocket when the invoice is in front of me.
Prior to moving to Meaford I had never installed snow tires on any of my cars – although I likely should have in spite of having lived in a much larger urban centre where most of my winter driving was local.
My first winter in Meaford, with its copious amount of snow and long country roads to travel, convinced me that snow tires are not an unnecessary luxury, but an important and necessary component of save driving on snow-packed, icy winter roads.
I may be a winter wimp, and I may whine like a fourth grader about having to cover my hands with gloves, and my feet with heavy boots before leaving the house each day, but when it comes to preparing the car for winter, it isn’t just for my own protection and peace of mind, it is also for the protection of fellow motorists who shouldn’t have to experience a collision due to inappropriate tires causing a loss of traction and an unnecessary crash.
We are fortunate to have experienced, trustworthy mechanics in Meaford, and we should all heed their advice – prepare your car for winter conditions. It may hurt the pocketbook, but it is definitely worth it to be safe rather than sorry.
So come on, Winter, let’s get this over with so I can shed the boots in favour of sandals again, and with any luck, spring will arrive without any winter auto mishaps.
Check out the print edition of this week’s Meaford Independent for a special feature focused on getting your car ready for winter.