Automotive

Driving an old car from Toronto to Winnipeg in winter

  • Last Updated:
  • Dec 18th, 2017 11:50 pm
Newbie
Nov 11, 2017
15 posts
9 upvotes
I drove from Vancouver to Toronto and went the reverse of that route. Your car sounds fine, in fact I don't even think it qualifies as old. 150k is quite a baby for a Honda. You've been taking good care of your car since you've received it. Just in case, I would familiarize myself with changing a tire if you haven't already. Long drives are actually easier on the car vs everyday stop go traffic. You'll run into a lot of MOOSE NIGHT DANGER signs. They're pretty funny actually. But do drive cautiously and use your high beams liberally. If you're worried about your battery, go ahead and change it. It's $75 at Costco and they're just rebranded Interstate batteries if I rememberer correctly. Not an unreasonable sum for a replacement hat would have to happen eventually. Bring a shovel and some sand with you. I believe main highways and roads are typically well taken care of, but when you get to the boonies you're going to want to be familiar with navigating over a loose surface.
Deal Addict
Jun 14, 2008
2026 posts
961 upvotes
Montreal
Get rid of the TV, it's going to be a tough fit in a sedan and take up all the space and block your rear view. A new one is $300 on Costco.ca and you can probably do without one for a few days.

If you don't trust your current battery, a new one cost the same as a jump starter, might as well buy a new one and keep the old one (fully charged with a set of jumper cables) in the trunk.
Deal Fanatic
Apr 20, 2011
7747 posts
2597 upvotes
ON
I drove this route in the summer.
I would be careful to plan to only drive in the daytime. Night danger of wildlife crossing and likely snowy roads means even more danger (longer stopping distance).

Fill up your tank whenever you can. Don't bother with gas can. They don't seal tight and you'd be huffing fumes the whole way.
IIRC longest distance between stations was 400km, which pretty much any car can do @ hwy driving.

I second just buying a replacement battery and having one fully charged ready to go. Will guarantee enough power to start vs booster only might work.
Deal Addict
Jun 14, 2008
2026 posts
961 upvotes
Montreal
That reminds me, how's your headlight? It's probably foggy and yellow by now and useless on the road without street lights, get a headlight polishing kit and restore the transparency. Maybe replace the bulbs too since they do go dimmer over time.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 7, 2014
2064 posts
320 upvotes
Definitely not driving in dark.
Headlight is pretty white. Bulb may be I can change.
This battery is 2014. Never got drained so portable jump starter should be ok.
Now thinking whether to pre book hotels or find on the fly depending upon where I would be during eod.
Hopefully motels/ hotels would not be full at that time of year.
Deal Addict
Jun 14, 2008
2026 posts
961 upvotes
Montreal
If you haven't used headlights much and plastic lens is in good condition you can probably leave it alone.
Newbie
May 5, 2012
95 posts
31 upvotes
Winnipeg is a very cold place in mid Jan to end of Jan (your time of travel), and as a PR in canada, it may be the coldest place you have been to.

While living in the canadian prairie years ago, all my cars used to have an engine block heater, that was plugged into the house electric current all night on my driveway during the cold winter nights. Otherwise, the cars might not start the next day. Then again, car battery might have become better these days for the Canadian winter, with higher cold cranking power.

I also travelled to many small towns during the winters because of my former job. I would suggest that, because of the unpredictable deep freeze, possible black ice and blowing snow on the roads (white outs), take your time driving to Winnipeg in late Jan, preferably during the day. Have warm winter boots, warmest socks and warmest coats in your car, just in case that you car goes into the ditch and you need to wait for hours before a tow truck comes to rescue you. In the trunk of my car, I usually had a battery booster cable, a tow rope that allows another car to tow my car out, and a spade to dig my car out if necessary. Yes, have your phone fully charged, as you might need to call a tow truck, police, etc. Best of luck.
Member
May 9, 2010
286 posts
79 upvotes
Ottawa
I have a fair amount of experience driving through Ontario in all 4 seasons and I'd highly recommend you avoid highway 17 altogether and go take highway 11 (north bay up to Cochrane through Kapuskasing, Hearst, etc).

Lake affect weather is a big concern with driving along highway 17 Great Lakes area in winter. Extremely unpredictable weather patterns. Roads can turn deadly in a matter of minutes.

The highway 11 is further north so doesn't get the unpredictable weather patterns. Also take a look at a map... Highway 11 is a straight line unlike the windy and hilly highway 17. So from a visibility, slipping (or having a car slip into your lane) - you're much safer on highway 11. Most truckers take highway 11

Also don't forget the most deadly thing out there is what you don't see... Black ice. Temperature up north that time of the year will be in - 20 or colder. It may look sunny and you may think the asphalt is sticky but that's ft he furthest from he truth. You will probably see more cars in the ditch on sunny cold day then you will when it's snowing out.

A suggested itinerary could be day 1 in Cochrane or Kapuskasing... Day 2 thunder bay or Upsala and next day you're home.
Safe travels
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 7, 2014
2064 posts
320 upvotes
^
Interesting....Never came to my mind.
Taking highway 11 makes sense. Its one day longer but I liked the idea of straight line. Easy on car and driver...will explore more...thx

Edit: oh so you are saying drive Toronto to Cochrane on day1 itself. Makes sense. Thats doable it seems. Then this highway 11 route does not even add any extra day
Sr. Member
Dec 14, 2007
519 posts
61 upvotes
Gee wrote:
Nov 17th, 2017 10:05 am
Any reason why you don’t hire a truck to move your belongings?
+1

Lived in Winnipeg for over 10 years. Did a round trip once from Winnipeg to Toronto and some Quebec places back in the University years. There's really nothing to see between Winnipeg and Toronto. Unless you wanna count Kenora which I would just do from Winnipeg on a weekend.

Like the others said it's the coldest times in Manitoba. I wouldn't be too worried about the road condition. When it's really cold, it's usually just sunny. If you are traveling from positive temperature to negative temperature, check the weather. You could be going from rain to freezing rain which is very dangerous. It happened to us once when we were coming back from the South. Rain turned to freezing rain to snow storm. Wasn't fun at all.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Oct 16, 2007
996 posts
245 upvotes
If a mechanic has looked over the car, and says its ok i dont see a big issue. If the car starting is a worry for you, spend $100 on a new battery from costco. The car is low mileage, and if there arent any big signs right now I think it would be fine for a drive. Winnipeg to toronto isnt that long of a drive.

Make sure you have some good tunes, and keep an eye on the weather. Lake effect snow is a bitch
Last edited by ziaa on Nov 17th, 2017 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 23, 2004
1635 posts
197 upvotes
Montreal
Don't overthink this.
Your car is fine and you have winter tires.
You will be driving on highways, not some backcountry roads.
Get some food and winter gear and drive safely.

As for your TV I'm sure it will fit just fine between the front and back seats.
Member
Nov 26, 2013
402 posts
245 upvotes
Winnipeg
You could also go through the states, which is faster. There are also more things to see/do along the way.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 26, 2003
27571 posts
1854 upvotes
Winnipeg
drove over to toronto and back with my 03 civic just fine.

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