Article by Justin Pritchard, photos courtesy Mazda and Subaru

Have you ever been to California? Miami? Colorado? Around wintertime, and especially for those Canadians who’ve visited warm places like these, something becomes apparent: we live in an ungodly harsh climate.

Of course, Mother Nature is gearing up for another winter full of crabby-pants hissy-fits for this season’s Winterpocalypse. She attacked Buffalo, NY, not long ago, and we’re likely next.

All of the impending cold and snow will be hard on us humans and it’s even harder on our cars and trucks which don’t bundle up, don’t get to snuggle up in the evening with some hot cocoa under a blanket in front of some Netflix, and are expected to wake up, start, perform and run flawlessly. Even at 5:30 in the morning at minus stupid degrees Celsius.

Add in the salt, ice pellets, sand, rust, constant fluctuation of temperature and humidity levels, and it becomes very clear: we Canucks just don’t live in a climate conducive to the prolonged existence of a vehicle.

Automakers have numerous ways to help their rides stand up to our climate – though some factory accessories can help add even further protection, peace of mind and even resale value down the line. Here’s a closer look.

Protective Mats: The thing about your rides factory fuzzy carpeted floor mats is that after about two hours of winter, they’ll become soggy with salty, sandy and abrasive slush tracked in on your filthy boots, and never really dry for months. You’ll add more sand, salt and moisture to the equation every time you get on board, and before long, the mixture will seep through the floor mats and start eating away at the carpeting and even the floor beneath. Solution? Form-fitting rubber mats. Rubber is a magical compound that, among other things, is waterproof and tough. All that winter yuckiness on your boots will stay in the mats, which have a raised edge, so there’s no spillage. When they’re full of salty water or just too gross to bear, take them out of the car, give ‘em a rinse down in the laundry room sink, and notice how perfectly clean and dry and corrosion-free the carpeting is beneath them. Most automakers offer up form-fitting rubber mats for the front, rear and even cargo areas of their rides.

Protective MatsProtective MatsRemote Start
Protective Mats, Remote Start. Click image to enlarge

Step Bars: When I’m about to go into a friend’s house and my boots are covered in filthy slush, I usually kick them off aggressively on the front door before going inside. Just kidding! Nobody does that, because it’s stupid. But, every day, millions of Canadians abuse their rocker panels in a similar fashion, kicking their heavy boots against them before hopping on board.  Rocker panels put up with a lot, mostly in the form of salt and sand spray, every time you drive. They don’t need you kicking them or wearing their paint down every time you head out for a rip. So, check out some step-bars or step-rails instead. Not only do these add a touch of visual flare and make it easier and safer to enter and exit your ride, they provide a sturdy place to kick off those winter boots before getting on board.

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