When the days get shorter and the leaves hit the ground, vehicle owners in Haliburton County know it’s nearly time for the big switch.

The switch to winter tires, that is.

With a vast network of twisting roads, hills and valleys and snow often clouding the forecast, snow tires are a must, and most Canadians have clued in.

According to the Rubber and Tire Association of Canada, 69 per cent of drivers in the country use winter tires.

What’s more, studies from the Traffic Injury Research Foundation show that stopping times are decreased by 30 per cent when winter tires are used, compared to all-seasons or summer tires.

However, other winter maintenance milestones are less obvious.

Here are three often-overlooked vehicle maintenance tips that can save you hundreds and keep you on the road longer.

Wiping winter away

Vision is first. Consider switching to winterspecific wiper blades. Automotive experts such as newroads.ca explain that winter wipers are heavier and stronger, giving some grunt to your efforts to rid a windshield of ice and snow. Most models are also coated in rubber, to decrease the chance of coldweather breakage.

A decent-quality wiper blade won’t wipe out your wallet: they’re usually under $30.

Clear the air

When is the last time you cleaned your cabin air filter? If you don’t know what that is or where it’s located, it’s likely been too long.

Unlike the engine’s air filter, the cabin air filter reduces pollutants from entering your car’s interior.

It’s often located behind the glove box or under your hood, though most car manuals include instructions for replacing the filter at home. A new one costs around $50.

CAA estimates that pollutants can be up to six times more concentrated in a car for city drivers. While the Highlands is a clean-air haven, dusty roads or commutes still mean checking your air filter could enhance the air quality of your winter rides.

If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, your mechanic can likely make the switch in a jiffy during oil change appointments.

Get greasy

Of all the moving parts on your car, the wheels are hardest to ignore: if your wheel bearings get rusty, you’ll know right away. Yet there are hundreds of other moving mechanisms that winter driving can play havoc with, if not maintained.

Unless spending a Saturday installing a window regulator kit sounds like a good time, lubricating your window tracks can keep your power windows going up and down smoothly.

Spray silicone or dry Teflon spray lubricant onto the rubber tracks along the vertical edges of your window while it’s rolled down.

Let it sit and then roll the window up and down a few times. And don’t stop at just your windows. Lubricate your locks with Teflon dry lubricant or graphite lock lubricant. While most cars on the road have contactless keys, batteries can die in the cold and who wants to be stuck outside during a Haliburton County winter?