Here’s What to Pack in Your Car’s Winter Emergency Kit

Frozen Windshield | High River, AB

As cold temperatures and snow arrive in High River, Alberta, don’t get caught unprepared — take steps now to get your vehicle ready for a winter emergency. Here are some of the most important supplies you should keep in your car in case you get stuck or stranded in dangerous conditions.

Winter Items

A blanket, extra clothes, and extra shoes or boots will come in handy to shield you from the cold. Your emergency kit should also include a big can, a candle, and matches, which you can use to warm the car’s interior. You’ll also want to pack a small shovel, ice scraper, and snow brush. Stash a bag of sand, salt, or non-clumping cat litter in the trunk — these can provide crucial traction if you get stuck in ice or snow.

General Items

No matter the time of year, it’s a good idea to keep nonperishable food and some water in your car. Make sure the water is stored in bottles that won’t break if they freeze. Other handy items to bring along include a first aid kit and seatbelt cutter, a wind-up flashlight, road maps, and a whistle to draw attention. You’ll also want to keep jumper cables, warning flares, and a fire extinguisher in the trunk.

While you’re putting together your emergency kit, be sure to also bring your vehicle in to High River Toyota for seasonal maintenance. We can change your oil, check your brakes, install snow tires, and provide a variety of other services to get your vehicle ready for winter.

How to De-Ice Your Windshield in a Hurry This Winter

Car Frozen Windshield | High River, AB

Getting up in the morning and dealing with an iced-over windshield is one of winter’s many little annoyances here in High River, Alberta. Fortunately, with a little prep, you can quickly clear your windshield and be on your way instead of spending several minutes chipping away at the ice or waiting for your car to warm up.

De-icer spray is the key

With a few squirts of de-icer spray, you’ll be well on your way to a clear windshield. These sprays are widely available in stores, or you can make your own. For one easy homemade spray, dissolve two teaspoons of salt into a spray bottle filled with water. You could also mix one part water and two parts 70% isopropyl alcohol.

Squirt and scrape

De-icer solutions have a lower freezing point than water, so you can always keep a bottle stashed in your vehicle. Spray a little on the windshield, and it will quickly thaw and loosen the ice so you can remove it with a brush and plastic scraper.

De-icing mistakes to avoid

Never pour hot water on your iced-over windshield. The sudden temperature change could make the glass crack. You should also avoid forcefully hacking at the ice or scraping it with metal, as these actions could end up damaging your windshield.

For all your winter vehicle maintenance needs, make an appointment with the service experts here at High River Toyota.

Tips for Staying Safe on Fall Drives in Alberta

Now that the season has changed, you may be itching to get out on the road for a scenic drive. To help you stay safe during your fall drives in Alberta, our team at High River Toyota has put together some useful tips.

fall drives in Alberta

Watch out for animals and pedestrians

With the weather changing and getting cooler, more people — and animals — are likely to be out in nature. Be sure to keep an eye out for people walking or cycling alongside the roads, especially as the sun starts to go down and visibility gets worse. Watch out for animal crossing signs as well, as deer and other fauna may be looking for shelter.

Be aware of slippery leaves

As beautiful as they are when they fall from trees, brightly coloured leaves can be quite dangerous if they are on the road. In fact, when they hit the pavement, leaves can be just as scary as driving on icy or especially wet roadways. If you see a large pile ahead, slow down and approach with caution.

Adjust your eyes to the dark

It starts to get darker earlier in the day during fall and winter. As a result, your eyes may not be ready to drive when you get behind the wheel for an evening cruise. Instead of hopping in your Toyota and instantly pressing on the gas, sit in the driver’s seat for a bit and let your eyes adjust to the setting sun.

With these tips in mind, it should be a breeze for you and your passengers to stay safe during your scenic drives. If your vehicle needs any maintenance or repairs before you start traveling, don’t hesitate to contact our team at High River Toyota for assistance.

Tips for First-Time Off-Roaders in High River, Alberta

Off-roading can be a thrilling way to test the limits of your Toyota here in High River, Alberta. To help you hit the dirt trails safely, the High River Toyota team has compiled some helpful tips for first-time off-roaders. Brush up on these guidelines before taking your Toyota truck or SUV on rougher trails to ensure that your excursion is as safe as it is fun.

2020 Toyota 4Runner | High River, AB

Know the terrain

You should never head into an off-roading excursion blind. Rock-crawling isn’t the same as climbing sand dunes, fording rivers, or ripping through mud bogs. Each terrain has its own qualities that can pose a challenge for your Toyota.

Before arriving at your destination, scout out what the landscape is like and prepare accordingly. Consider if you need any special equipment, to adjust the tires, or research your vehicle’s limitations. Plot out where you’re going to drive and research what the site is like to ensure your truck can handle it.

Have help

Never go alone when you’re off-roading in your Toyota. Bring a group of friends or family members to serve as navigation assistants and safety directors. It always pays to have a second or third set of eyes watching you and your vehicle. That way, they can call for help if something goes wrong.

If a friend has their own truck or 4X4, have them tag along. They can use recovery gear to pull you out when you’re stuck in the mud or in a ditch.

Prepare your ride

We strongly recommend bringing your Toyota model to High River Toyota’s service department for a maintenance inspection before and after hitting the trails. We can ensure your vehicle is safe to drive and isn’t harboring any unseen issues.

Contact our parts or service department reps here at High River Toyota in Alberta if you’re getting ready for your first off-roading adventure. It’s a great way to make sure you have the right Toyota model and equipment you need to conquer the rugged paths you want to explore. 

Tips for Loading a Kayak on Your Toyota Vehicle

Here in High River, Alberta, there’s no shortage of regional kayaking opportunities — including nearby spots like Bow River and, a little further out, Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park. With a few simple tools and tips, you’ll soon be ready to load your kayak atop your Toyota vehicle and head out on an adventure.

Toyota RAV4 | High River, AB

Equipment You’ll Need

Before you load a kayak, you’ll need to add crossbars to your roof rack. Most Toyota models offer these as an accessory, and we’ll be glad to install them for you here at High River Toyota. You’ll also want to get rack padding to hold the kayak, a couple of cam straps to tie it to the rack, and ratcheting lines to secure the bow and stern. Depending on the size of your vehicle and boats, you might even be able to add a second rack or stacker bar to carry multiple kayaks.

Loading the Kayak

Once your crossbars and padding are in place, make sure the kayak is parallel to your vehicle and facing forward. With a companion, carefully lift it at both ends, set it down on the rack, and center it. If you’re alone, spread a towel on the back roof, lift the front of the kayak, and place it on top of the towel. From there, you can push the kayak onto the rack.

Securing the Kayak

Loop your cam straps under the crossbar and over the kayak, then buckle and tighten them. The kayak should feel snugly secured — not too tight or too loose. Then, using safe tie-down points on the kayak and your Toyota, carefully install the bow and stern lines. On your way there and back, stop every once in a while to make sure the kayak is still in place.

Have any questions about accessories or safety for outdoor adventures in your Toyota? Contact the experts here at High River Toyota.

Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Car

Spring has sprung, so it’s time to start the warmer weather out on the right foot. So, why not give your car a good spring cleaning? Here are some tips to help you get your car clean for spring drives in High River, AB.

Spring Cleaning Your Car | High River Toyota | High River, AB

Give the exterior some love. From salt to hail to general winter grime, your car’s exterior has undergone a beating during the winter. One of the big ways you can spring clean your car is to clean its exterior. This can help reduce the damage winter can do to your vehicle over time, reducing the likelihood of rust and more.  

Don’t forget the car’s undercarriage. Over the winter, salt can sit on the bottom of your car. This can cause it to rust down the road, so while you’re spring cleaning your car, make sure you give the undercarriage a thorough cleaning, too.

Tidy up your interior. Trash can gather over the winter, especially when it’s too cold to clean out your vehicle regularly. Gather any rubbish that’s littering your cabin, then give it a thorough vacuuming. Also, don’t forget to take out your floor mats and clean them as well, using a carpet cleaner if you have carpet or warm, soapy water for rubber mats.

Make sure your vehicle is as safe as it is clean this spring when you schedule a seasonal service appointment with us here at High River Toyota.

Spring Car Maintenance Checklist

Spring is right around the corner in High River, AB, which means it’s time to start thinking about spring service for your car. Make sure you schedule a service appointment with High River Toyota today, and start thinking about your spring car maintenance checklist.

spring service for your car | High River Toyota | High River, AB

Get new oil and oil filter

Oil changes are part of your vehicle’s regular maintenance, so now is the time to get your vehicle’s oil changed. Bring your car into High River Toyota, and we’ll be happy to change it for you.

Change out your windshield wipers

Cold temperatures and ice can cause your windshield wipers to crack and wear. Change your windshield wipers when spring arrives, so they’re in tiptop condition as the rain grows heavier.

Check your filters

There are a range of filters used throughout your vehicle, from your engine air filter to your cabin air filter and beyond. Make sure these are all clean, check for damage, and replace them if you need to.

Keep an eye on your tires

Your tires are what help your vehicle stay on the road. As the temperature changes, so will your tire pressure. You should check the pressure of your tires, and make sure it’s within the recommended range. Also, make sure your tires aren’t wearing down too quickly or unevenly. High River Toyota wishes you a happy and safe spring as you explore more of Alberta in your Toyota. And remember to call us to schedule a seasonal service appointment if you haven’t done so already.

How to Test Your Car Battery at Home

Your car battery needs to be replaced every three to five years, and a great way to make sure you’re never stranded is to stay on top of its condition. With regular testing, you can be confident that your car battery has the juice you need to keep moving.

Test your car battery | High River Toyota | High River, AB

How to test your car battery at home

In order to conduct a proper test, you’ll need a car battery tester, which you could buy for as little as $10 depending on where you look.

You don’t want to test the battery after you’ve driven because it can be hot under the hood. Testing when it’s been a few days since the last time you drove will also give you a more accurate idea of how much it retains a charge.

When you find the battery, connect the tester by clipping the red to the positive and the black to the negative terminal. Turn on the tester and set it to check the voltage and cold cranking amps. The former should read 12.6 volts or higher and the latter will be close to the number found on the battery casing. If these numbers are too low, you are likely coming due for a battery replacement. If you’d rather leave the work to professionals, the service experts at High River Toyota near Calgary, AB, can test your battery for you when you stop in for routine maintenance. Have concerns about your battery? Give us a call or schedule an appointment online and we’ll help make sure you’ve got all the power you’ll need.

Signs That You’re Due for New Windshield Wipers

Spring has sprung once again, which means it’s time to consider bringing your vehicle into High River Toyota for seasonal maintenance. One service you may want to consider this spring is a new set of windshield wipers — especially if you’ve noticed any signs that they may be due for replacement.

New windshield wipers | High River Toyota | High River, AB

Physical condition

A surefire sign that you’re due for new windshield wipers is the rubber being in poor shape. The rubber part of your wiper blades should be in good condition, and any cracking or brittleness means that the blade won’t be as effective on rainy spring drives.

Not quite music to your ears

If you’re using your wiper blades to improve your visibility in a light rain, you may hear some squeaking. But if squeaking or dragging sounds are persistent in all conditions, it probably means your blades aren’t doing what they should.

Streaks and missed spots

When your windshield wiper blades are in good shape, they’ll leave a clear and clean path in their wake. A blade that either doesn’t clear away all the water or leaves behind smudges likely needs to be replaced.

These and other signs can tell you that you’re due for new windshield wipers this spring. If you are, bring your vehicle to High River Toyota near Calgary, AB. Our service pros can equip your vehicle with a new set in no time at all and get you back on the road toward springtime fun. 

Driving Safety Tips for Rough Alberta Winters

Winter driving can be precarious, especially when the snow begins to accumulate throughout Alberta. If you’re wondering how you can stay safer during these chilly months, consider keeping these winter driving safety tips in mind.

s | High River Toyota | Calgary, AB

Keep a light touch on your brakes

Slamming on your brakes when roads are slick can cause a number of things to happen — including a skid. If you find yourself needing to stop quickly, remember to pump your brakes to help you stop without sliding.

Know your skids and how to get out of them

No matter how good you are at winter driving, you still may find yourself skidding on icy roads. If your front wheels have lost traction, simply ease off the gas pedal and steer your vehicle in the direction you want to go and don’t touch any of the pedals.

If you find yourself in a rear-wheel skid, you’ll want to turn your steering wheel into the direction the rear of the vehicle is moving, allowing your vehicle to straighten out. Once again, try not to use the pedals until you’re out of the skid.

Space yourself out from other vehicles

Increase your following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you so you’ll have time to stop in case anything happens with the vehicle in front of you.

Ensure you have good visibility

Before you head out, clear off your vehicle’s windows, hood, taillights, and headlights. This will help you see while driving. Be sure to clear off as much of the roof as possible so that you don’t send sheets of snow or ice at the vehicle behind you when driving.

Here at High River Toyota, we know it can be stressful to drive through our harsh Canadian winters. But with these tips, we hope you’ll have a safe experience on every journey.