By on January 5, 2016

1998-2000_Honda_Accord_sedan_--_03-16-2012

Pete writes:

I find myself in a situation uniquely suited to seek out the counsel of the wise and insightful folks at TTAC (Sajeev, Mark, and the B&B).

I have been a long time resident of Tampa, Florida, where my ’98 Honda Accord and my wife’s ’04 Honda Accord perfectly suit the needs of my family (which includes our two boys, ages one and three). The ’98 has about 175,000 miles on the clock. I am just handy enough to do all required maintenance and repairs myself.

My employer has offered me the opportunity to relocate to Ottawa for the next three years. My wife works as a CPA and all of her clients are here in Tampa or greater Florida. The plan for now is for her to spend the tax seasons in Tampa with the boys while I enjoy the Ottawa winters solo.

Here are some additional facts of the case:

– I have aspirations to drive on occasion from the city to some of the ski areas to the north of Ottawa.
– My wife’s ’04 will likely remain in Tampa for her and the boys’ use while they are here.
– I have plenty of winter driving experience while my wife has none.
– There is a decent chance that the ’98 will not survive the entire three years (check me on this).
– We’re both pretty frugal (cheap).
– While she is in Ottawa, we will each need our own car.

So (finally) here are my questions:

– Will a good set of snow tires on the ’98 Accord be enough to get by?
– When and/or if my ’98 Accord freezes to death, what should I replace it with? If it comes to this, I would probably travel south to Vermont or New York to buy the replacement car.
– Would I have to get a Canada car for my wife? The assumption here is all-wheel drive. Yes, CR-V is an option. I have heard that Ottawa can get some impressive snow from April through to May which would require her to drive in the snow.
– Do I need to learn French?

Thanks for having stayed with me as I meander to the point of my message.

Mark answers:

As this is the first letter sent to me to answer, I’m sure the Best & Brightest will poke all sorts of holes in the advice I’m about to offer up — but that’s the whole point, right?

To your first question, the Honda Accord is the 32nd-best-selling car in Canada. That doesn’t lend much credence to it being a stellar winter performer. Canadians prefer other vehicles. But it’s those other vehicles that are most like your Accord.

Consider this: After the Ford F-Series and Ram pickup truck line, the best selling model in Canada is the Honda Civic. Comparing the ’15 Civic and your ’98 Accord, they have relatively similar lengths (14 feet and 11 inches for the ’15 Civic, 15 feet and 8 inches for ’98 Accord), are separated by fewer than 2 inches in wheelbase, and their curb weights are separated by the average weight of a teenage Canadian male (2,754 pounds for the Civic, 2,888 pounds for the Accord). Both have front-wheel drive. Neither has an all-wheel-drive option. Yet, Canadians buy Civics in droves. My mother owns a Civic. She lives on the outskirts of a small town on a road that’s probably on the bottom of the plow drivers’ priority list. She rarely has a problem getting to where she needs to go.

Taking into account your assertion that you have some winter driving experience under your belt and that you plan excursions outside of the city, a set of winter tires should do you just fine in the ’98 Accord. If you were bound to our nation’s capital, quality all-season tires would suffice — but they wouldn’t be the best option. Unfortunately, in that part of Ontario, you can’t use studded winter tires, so you’ll have to make do with studless rubber. Try to get narrower winter tires than you would summers as the narrower tread will allow you to dig through the white stuff to make contact with harder, grippier surfaces below.

The answer is clear as to what to replace your Accord with when it finally succumbs to copious amounts of Canadian road salt: whatever you are most comfortable driving within your budget. All-wheel-drive vehicles are going to allow you to get away from a stop in a much quicker, more predictable manner when traction is hard to come by, but it’s almost all equal once you get on the highway. You’ll have a better idea of your comfort level with front-wheel drive in the snow after the first year with your Accord.

Sidebar: You want to go to the U.S. to buy a car and bring it back to Canada? Hold right there, mon ami. There are a number of things to consider when purchasing a vehicle in another country. Any factory warranty guaranteed by an automaker on the American side of the border will be invalid on the Canadian side. Also, have you seen the value of the Canadian dollar lately? If you’re buying used, you’d be out of your mind to buy a car on the U.S. side today if you’re getting paid in American dinero — and some analysts are predicting the Loonie to continue its downward slide. The other concern is import duty. If you are buying a car that wasn’t built within NAFTA (United States, Canada or Mexico), you can incur some stiff charges upon bringing your U.S.-purchased car back to Canada. And there’s the annoying three-day waiting period to top it all off.

Instead of making a decision right away regarding your wife’s ability to drive in the snow with a front-wheel-drive car, put her in the driver’s seat of your Accord during a visit. If the majority of her driving will be within the city, I’d say she’d likely be comfortable with the Accord. It’s when you get outside of the city and off the highway where all-wheel drive vehicles can really come in handy.

However, the best advice I can give you is this: If you feel unnerved about the weather conditions, don’t drive (if you can help it). Canadian employers know the pain associated with living in a winter climate. If you’re snowed in, well, you’re snowed-in. Go shovel that driveway or work from home. If you feel lazy, watch TV or do something else to prolong your stay at home for the day. “Snow day” in Canada is just another name for “unscheduled vacation.”

Being that you’ll be living in Ottawa, just across the river from Gatineau, Quebec, some basic French is a requirement: Quebecers mention church and church-like things when they’re mad, they typically eat Russian presidents when hungry, and being called a tête carrée is not a compliment you dirty, dirty Anglo.

[Image credit: By IFCAR (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

This is “Ask the Editor,” where you can pose questions on anything you want as long as it’s somewhat car related. Chances are you’ll receive a different answer depending on who you ask — so caveat emptor! Do you have a question? Send it to [email protected] and we’ll make sure it gets routed to the correct party.

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113 Comments on “Ask the Editor: Does a Front-wheel-drive Honda S’Accorde with Canadian Weather?...”


  • avatar
    Corollaman

    When I lived up in Jersey, I only had snow tires on the drive wheels and a set of chains for the real bad stuff. I survived that through many cars just fine. The last car I had there was a FWD Camry, and with the same setup, I did fine, never got stranded anywhere.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      The problem with winter tires on the drive wheels only results in strange stability, and poor braking if the car is RWD. Winter tires on all 4.

      • 0 avatar
        hudson

        I did New Brunswick winters with an 89 4 Cyl Mustang. Studed snows on the back and all seasons on the front. Best driving I’ve ever done. Thing was so much more fun to drive on hard pack snow / ice than any other time.

  • avatar
    sco

    The one concern you did mention is that a 98 Accord wont last forever. My 98 Civic EX went 250K miles but those were all highway miles and even at that various parts (bulbs, engine mounts, etc) began to reach the end of their normal lives and the little (although solvable) problems accumulated. This might be a good time to get out while you are ahead.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “some basic French is a requirement”

    Joual isn’t quite the French that one would learn from Pimsleur or Berlitz. The accent is baffling, IMO.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Winter tires + FWD is more than adequate.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Been doing FWD + snow tires for years in Chicagoland with frequent trips to northern WI.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Stay in Tampa with your current job, or one of you should find a different job that doesn’t separate your family for a whole season. For me, anyway, such an ‘opportunity’ would never be worth it.

    Car issues are the least of your concerns.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      It’s rather impertinent (and maybe too late) to say that but I wholeheartedly agree. I’m thinking there is a lot of suppressed displeasure on his wife’s part over this plan as it dumps the lion’s share of responsibility for the boys on her while she’s still expected to provide half-ish of the family income.

      Why simulate a military family’s misery if you don’t have to? And even if there’s a significant pay increase, that just makes the comparison more appropriate.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      Pete, check out violence crime rates in Tampa vs. Ottawa. I just moved from Central Florida to SLC. Move your entire family to Canada. Sure they have 4 seasons and Florida is HOT all the time. But, the crime in Florida especially Tampa does not make for a good quality of life.

      • 0 avatar
        MrGreenMan

        This is perfectly fine advice. It’s called a family for a reason. I’m sure Ottawa is a very nice town – it’s not like you’re proposing moving them to Toronto.

        • 0 avatar
          never_follow

          Nothing wrong with Toronto crime-wise… if anything, there are way too many cops there who haven’t had anything to do and have itchy trigger fingers.

          But yeah, if you’re looking for low-crime, Ottawa is probably the safest place by population in the western hemisphere. It’s also boring as hell once you’ve done the (frankly excellent) museums and skated the Rideau, but that might not be a problem with a family.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Crime in a city is almost always concentrated in a few hot spots. Stay away from those hot spots and you should be fine even in a “high crime” city. Fear of crime is not a good reason to abandon a metro area, although it may well be a reason to move within the metro area.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Tampa/St Pete is alright.

        (Says the guy who lives in Detroit and primarily works in Detroit, Memphis, and St Pete)

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      This is like that question (I think it was during the Bertel years) about the right car for relocating the family a day’s drive away so the wife could take advantage of some amazing ability to make lots of money, or maybe do a degree, and what was the right thing to shuttle the kids each way.

      I remember the TTAC staff attempted to scold everybody who responded: Are you nuts? Or do you want to be divorced?

      I believe I suggested at the time – well, just get rid of that current car, and get a sporty two seater so the new girlfriend will have a good time while the divorce is finalized.

      Winter tires are good advice, but that’s like asking if they should sterilize the executioner’s needle to prevent the condemned from getting a bad infection.

  • avatar
    cmb1196x

    Mark, it’s good advice. Long time lurker (since the beginning of Mr. Farrago’s GM Deathwatch), first time poster…BUT since I live in Ottawa, thought I’d chime in… I drive a ’14 Ram 4×4 but my wife drives a ’12 Mazda 2 with good snow tires. It does just fine and she is somewhat…er…winter-driving challenged. I rarely need the 4-wheel drive, but it’s there if I do. The only other thing I would recommend is having the ’98 sprayed with rust inhibitor if he plans to keep it any length of time. Being of that vintage, it will immediately start to dissolve when it hits our briny Ottawa roads where they use more salt that any other city in Ontario. Good luck to the original poster, and welcome to the Nation’s Capital!

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I’d argue that for a three year stint in a car that hasn’t had any exposure to salted roads before, and on top of that will probably bet let go of after three years, I wouldn’t even bother with the undercoating. Coming from one of the biggest proponents around here for a quality oil undercoat it may seem strange, but that only applies to “keepers.”

      A set of snow tires, a thorough look over at a trusted mechanic to make sure you’re up to speed on all maintenance (recent coolant and oil changes, ATF), and make sure the battery is pretty fresh and you should be a happy camper for the next three years! You’ll be glad that you’re not subjecting a nice new car that you intend to keep after the Canada stint to all that road salt.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        This. Salt does damage but not *that* quickly and you’re embarking with a well-maintained Southern car. Make it as mechanically sound as possible, equip it with snow tires and just drive it.

        • 0 avatar
          never_follow

          The flip side is that if it has a minty body, it has resale value. Up here the big H means a lot, and a clean ’98 Accord should bring in 3k no problem. Looking at local kijiji ads (popular in eastern Canada), there’s a couple of absolute piles of crap going for $2000/2500.

      • 0 avatar
        hudson

        Undercoat the thing WHY WOULDN’T you.. it’s a couple tanks of gas!

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Accords do just fine in Ontario with snow tires.

    Just keep in mind that you will need to rust-proof your car right away (Krown being the preferred provider). Even then, it may not last very long. 1998 was a long time ago, and you can be assured that many of your car’s components will fail when subjected to sub-zero mornings.

    If I was you, I would get my employer to pay for, or subsidize, a 3 year lease.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      BTW, you won’t need to learn French. Almost everyone speaks English.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Quebec is officially monolingual French, so some modest language skills will be required if the OP wants to be able to read road signs, etc. on those occasions that he ventures north.

        • 0 avatar
          JuniperBug

          Quebec does go out of its way to make everything French, but Montreal is filled with people who grew up without any real functional ability in the language. Up until my mid-late twenties, I was one of them.

          Ottawa is nice is that it’s a perfectly bilingual city. Very little pretension about language there.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          Quebec road signs are the same size, shape and color as US road signs. He will have more trouble converting kilometers to miles than he will figuring-out that the white arrow on a black background is a one way.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The text of the signs is in French. For example, if a sign specifies “lun à ven” (and many of them will), it would help to know what that means.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      See my above response, too much doom and gloom around here. As long as the car has been maintained reasonably, it should have no problems with 3 years in a cold climate. No need for undercoating in this case either, if it’s just three years and he’s ready to let go of it at that point.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        I agree. That Accord will weather the winter fine just like all the ones here in Minneapolis do. Take care of it and it will be at least 10 years before you start to see any signs of rust on the body. It wasn’t built in the 70’s. I’d also forget the snow tires if you have a good set of all seasons on it already. Just drive it for a winter. I suspect you’ll find with FWD and plowed/sanded/salted roads it will get around just fine. No need for snow tires.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’ve lived in cold weather places (Iowa, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Colorado) my entire adult life, and it’s been my experience that in anything less than a foot or so, a FWD car will get where you need to go, as long as the tires are in good shape.

    Anything over a foot and it gets dicey real quick, and at about a foot and a half to feet, you’re probably SOL. The limiting factor tends to be ground clearance, so AWD isn’t necessarily a savior.

    But then again, like Mark said – why the heck would you want to go out in that kind of weather anyway? Call the boss and kick back at home.

    And don’t wear a Canadiens jersey if you’re living in Ottawa.

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      Once you get high centered, the only things that help are a shovel or a tow. One foot is enough to strand my all wheel drive Subaru. I wouldn’t even try to drive in 18 inches.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        In my old neighborhood (Denver suburb) I had a neighbor who crowed endlessly about how good his Avalanche pickup was going to be in the snow and ribbed me about my little old compact Focus.

        Then we had a three foot snowstorm, and I amused myself watching him get high-centered…on his own driveway. Then the thing moved at an angle and got high-centered on the front lawn. He couldn’t move it for a week or so.

        The only folks getting anywhere in my subdivision were a couple of guys with jacked up Jeep Wranglers, and a guy with a Hummer H1 (the H2s and H3s all epic-failed).

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Even with AWD, you still need snow tires and ground clearance, if you want to go through the deep stuff.

          I got my Range Rover out of the driveway with 2’+ on it, but I had to tow my idiot roommate’s Rav4 out when he got it stuck despite AWD and snows on it as well. Not nearly enough ground clearance. The magic of air suspension is that deploy-on-demand lift kit. 4″ up at the press of a button, with another couple automatically if the truck thinks it’s high-centered. The superb traction control system helps a lot too.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Winter tires and lots of rustproofing. When the ’98 dissolves, get something new for the wife and kids and take the ’04.

  • avatar
    stodge

    I live in Ottawa… What’s a snow day? There was only one day where I turned around while driving to work, and went home. But that’s just because of my lack of winter driving experience. Not because the road was impassable.

    Snow tyres are a must. AWD would be nice, especially for jaunts to the ski hills. I expect most drivers here have FWD + snow tyres, so that’ll probably suffice. Provided the FWD car isn’t too small and has some ground clearance. I had to repeatedly dig my neighbour’s new-ish Civic out and push it down the road because it kept getting stuck. Mind, it all depends on the type of snow. Don’t laugh! Snow at -30C is different than wet, sticky snow at -2C. Snow can be powdery at -30C, which means it won’t stick and lock your wheels in place.

    I’ve only driven FWD mid-sized sedans with good winter tyres here in Ottawa, and I’ve never been stuck. Stick a shovel and a winter survival kit in the trunk, just in case.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Buy four, not two, real winter tires and mount them on a set of cheap, steel wheels. Put the winter tires on the car late in the fall as soon as snow or ice storms become likely. Leave them on until the risk goes away in the spring. Where I live in the mid western US, the swap dates are Thanksgiving and Easter. Ottawa may be different.

  • avatar
    AK

    3 years ago Chicago had its worst winter ever. I think it was 2nd all time for snow fall and maybe 1st for coldest temperatures. It was brutal.

    I drove a 2005 Accord coupe every single day. The 05 had zero traction or stability control. That previous summer I had a new set of Pirelli P7 all seasons put on it.

    Never had a single problem and in fact, the car was more predictable in the awful conditions than my old 98 4wd Explorer was.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Sure fwd with snow tires can be OK. But if you can afford it. Nothing beats awd with snow tires. Even without snow tires. Awd is simply a better set up. The poor mpg with awd is old news. I get 31 mpg Avg with Forester 2.5i in 80%hwy/20%city driving. Your cars are also getting old and you don’t want to be stranded in -5 degree weather. Stop by you Subaru dealer and check them out. FYI, if you get Keyless Access the remote start has a range of 30 ft. Without the Keyless Access the remote start is 400 ft.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    As others have posted, a FWD car with proper snow tires will be just fine. If you are in the city, just take public transit if it is really bad. By bad I mean when the fresh snow is over the bumper and you are pushing it along.

    I’ve gotten by just fine over the past 25 years of driving in the Canadian winter with a FWD car and snow tires. We’ve only had our 4×4 F150 for 4 years of that. I only drive it when it’s really deep, otherwise I just take the FWD car. I’ve always felt that 4×4 just makes it slightly easier to get out of the snowbank when you inevitably hit it.

    The reason that the Accord is so far down our list of top sellers in Canada is the price. Canadians in general prefer smaller more fuel efficient cars, unless it’s a truck.

    And no, you don’t need to learn French at all.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I moved from California to Northern Michigan last year. I found a low-mileage ’02 Taurus wagon to be my winter family-truckster (so I wouldn’t have to drive my ’94 E320 Cabriolet in the salt). I’d say it’s pretty similar to your accord, albeit a bit heavier over the front end. I went last winter with all-season tires and added a separate set of winter tires on steel wheels this year. We just had our first major snowfall and they do indeed make the car feel a lot more secure in the snow.

    BTW, I grew up in the midwest and I recall when my family switched from RWD cars to FWD cars in the mid 1980s. It was revelation how well they did in the snow. And that was long before traction control and improved tire technology. Very few people drove 4x4s as their daily transportation back then as the idea of a modern and comfortable CUV was unheard of. 4x4s were for trucks or odd little boxy cars called Subarus… but they were rare in the Detroit ‘burbs.

    My advice is to keep the Accord, make sure it’s properly maintained, get a separate set of snow tires/wheels online, and slow down when it snows. Most of the cars I see in the ditch during snow storms are SUVs. Those drivers were presumably lulled into a false sense of security by their ability to accelerate but forgot about turning and stopping.

  • avatar
    mchan1

    Old Hondas do fine with FWD and decent all-season tires though winter tires may be better esp. in Canada during the winter.

    It’s not much different than living and driving in New England during the winter during snowy conditions.

    Remember to get some rust inhibitor for the undercarriage. If not, try to wash the underside every few times even in the winter to remove as much of the road salt/brine solution used on the roads to reduce rust.

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    I’ve spent 8 months living in Ottawa, September through April. Temps down to -40 and lots of snow. If I had to choose between working in Florida or Ottawa, I’d choose to stay in Florida.

    My vehicle at the time was a 1984 VW Rabbit with all-season tires. I had some chains which I only felt the need to use once, though I really should’ve had real winter tires on it. You will be fine with the Accord with good winter tires. I also support the recommendation to get your cars Krown oil sprayed annually while living in Ontario.

    When it comes time, I wouldn’t venture to the US to buy a replacement vehicle. In addition to the points that Mark raises, when you get it to Canada you have to have it certified as meeting Canadian safety standards under the RIV program (google it), which is administered by Canadian Tire. Never take your vehicles to Crappy Tire for any kind of service if you can possibly avoid it.

  • avatar
    jamesbrownontheroad

    As an aside, it’s now a legal requirement to have winter tires in Quebec through the winter (from December 15, 2015 – March 15, 2016). I’m not sure if the law applies to vehicles visiting from other provinces and states, but worth bearing in mind if you leave in Ottawa (Ontario) and occasionally drive across the bridge to Gatineau and the mountains.

    • 0 avatar
      Smaller-is-Better

      Quebec resident here with family in Gatineau. The law applies to Quebec-registered cars only, Ontario cars will never get fined for being on all-seasons while visiting.

      • 0 avatar

        Same with studs in Southern Ontario. If he keeps his Florida plate, he can run studs, but they may pull him over and ask for residency. If that happens, and the police think he lives in Canada full time (which he technically would), they’ll give him a fine for the studs, I believe.

  • avatar

    A high mileage ’98 Accord seems to me to be the perfect snow car. No freak-outs if the car gets bent. Perfect big city car too for the same exact reason. I’d drive the thing 3 years and sell it locally or abandon it with the title laying on the dash before returning to Florida.

  • avatar
    Smaller-is-Better

    Being born and raised in Ottawa, and now living in Montreal (same climate), I’ve always driven small FWD cars (92 Civic, 02 Accent, 06 Rio) and an RX-8 during the winter. All you need is:
    -snow tires
    -a sturdy shovel
    -traction aids (go to Canadian Tire for those)

    Don’t beleive those who say AWD and all-season is comparable or superior to FWD+winter tires. They may be comparable near the freezing point but when it’s close to 0 F the all-seasons will get hard as a rock.

    Many canadians also get old FWD as winter beater cars because of the rust and the higher likelyhood of damage (brittle cold plastic bumpers + slippery surfaces and hard chunks of ice in the snow banks).

    Basically your car is PERFECT for winter.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      It would be perfect if it wasn’t so old. I predict major bills his first year: battery, exhaust, suspension, tires, starter, alternator, coolant hoses, belts, etc. Everything that’s still OK for a 50 degree Florida winter morning will die a horrible death when the morning temp is closer to minus 50 (rarely that bad, but expect a few minus 30 days).

      He will be paying 3 times for each repair: once at the garage (plus towing?), once in lost time/wages, and once when he scraps the old car and buys a newer one.

      Leasing a car locally is still his best option. If the job doesn’t pay enough, then why is he considering this move?

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Hence recommendations by some of us to preemptively get the car caught up and up to snuff ahead of time. Albeit if he can snag one of those crazy $50/mo chevy Cruze deals or something of the sort, that would change things. A balljoint that is loose is loose, it won’t be perfectly fine and then fail suddenly, although I’m sure Ottowa’s roads might do a number on the car as a whole. Even if it’s $1000 in maintenance and repairs of things in marginal shape before he moves North, he’ll still be ahead of the game. Hoses and belts are cheap to do, if the car starts fine now, a new battery (optional cold weather package battery is a plus) should be all he needs to safeguard against any nasty surprises. I don’t think you give modern automobiles enough credit for how durable and reliable they and their components are.

        My 20 year old 4Runner on an all original charging system and some random who-knows-how-old battery started up with more vigor after a Polar Vortex evening outside than my 4 year old Civic. Blame the Civic’s small battery and most likely undersized starter for that one.

  • avatar
    Brumus

    Good advice from all re. winter tires.

    Don’t let some clown tell you no-season tires are “good enough” because he’s survived 15 Ottawa winters without a major accident (i.e., he was lucky).

    No-season tires may be “good enough” until they aren’t, and you go sliding around a corner into a curb at 40 km/h or plow through an intersection because the no-season rubber had minimal grip.

    • 0 avatar
      boozysmurf

      I came across four guys DIGGING UNDER A CAR that had slid 40-50ft on a corner, and 8-10ft up onto a snowbank, on Sunday morning.

      After I shed my incredulousness, I reminded them that once there’s enough snow out from under the car, it was going to fall 2-3ft onto them.

      Then they called for a tow-truck.

  • avatar
    GS 455

    Get an engine block heater installed especially if the car will be outdoors all night at temps below -20C. Get an ice scraper and keep a small shovel in the trunk.

    • 0 avatar
      Waftable Torque

      Maybe it’s just me getting acclimatized, but I don’t bother doing the block heater thing until it’s -30C. Back in the 70’s and 80’s we used to do the block heater/gasoline antifreeze thing when it hit -20C praying that the carbureted cars would start.

      With modern fuel injection and synthetic oil, it always starts. And an interior car warmer will do more to keep your windows clear than a coolant-heating block heater would.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      A block heater is a good idea for certain. Not because a modern EFI car won’t start w/o it but because it will get you heat quicker, reduce the wear on the engine and increase your MPG. One tip is to put the heater in defrost mode when you turn off the car as some heat will then make it to the windshield and potentially eliminate or at least make scraping easier and least in the milder temps.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    It does not sound like you want a new car. But, you could buy a new Subaru stick some snow tires one it save the all season tires. The resale value is so good on a Subaru you can probably drive it for three years and sell it. Only lose a couple thousand and have a reliable awd car for three years.

  • avatar
    fishiftstick

    As a Canadian driving Accords for 10+ years: Front wheel drive is perfectly fine for winter driving. Four wheel drive may be better, but it’s the 4WD vehicles I most often see upside down in the ditch. Maybe it’s the high centre of gravity, or maybe it’s because their drivers think 4WD = magic glue wheels.

    When it comes to driving in the snow, what you drive matters far less than how you drive it. SLOW DOWN. Leave yourself plenty of room to stop. Brake gently. Use engine braking. Turn and change lanes gently, without accelerating. Brake before, not during, a turn. And never, ever use cruise control in the snow.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Engine braking is not a good idea in slippery stuff in a vehicle that isn’t driving all the wheels via a locked center diff or with a transfer case that doesn’t have a center diff. Let the brakes do it all so that the ABS will work most effectively.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I agree with some of the others who suggest to keep the Accord until it disintegrates or you move back home. Invest is some good winter tires, ones that have the snowflake on the mountain symbol, not just M+S. Because tires are expensive in Canada from what I’ve read you’ll probably want to get them before you leave the US, though on the other hand you may find some used tires cheap from someone who bought them last season but their car disintegrated before the next season came around and they wouldn’t fit the replacement car.

    • 0 avatar
      Waftable Torque

      As a Canadian resident, it’s cheaper to buy from Tirerack and pay for shipping and duty than it is to buy locally. You can usually get Tier 1 rubber there for the same price as the cheapo Chinese-brands here.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        I find the opposite. 16″ Hakkapeliitta R2s cost me $150 each (installed and balanced) a couple of months ago. That’s US $100 at current exchange rates. That kind of money won’t buy you a top-tier snow tire at Tirerack, never mind shipping and installation.

        Tirerack had some good deals back when the US and Canadian dollar were at par, but not anymore.

  • avatar

    Winter tires (on all four wheels) is fine for a Canadian winter, get a set of Nokian Hakkapeliitta’s and you’re golden.
    In Canada it’s not the FWD cars with winter tires you see backwards in a snowbound ditch, it’s the 4×4 SUV’s and full size trucks with their (ahem) superior traction.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Life long Canadian boy here . I live father south where you can getaway with 4 good all seasons. Ottawa and Montreal is a whole different story. Yes FWD with winter tires will serve you quite well. As others have pointed out , KROWN even on a 98 will extend its life.

    I’ve spent a lot of time in Ottawa., my inlaws all live there. Lovely city , and you don’t need French .

  • avatar
    boozysmurf

    Ottawa resident here!

    On December 24th, 2015 it was 20oC
    On December 29th, 2015 is was -6oC and we got 35cm snow
    On January 4th, 2016 it was -32oC
    On January 6th, 2016 it is forecast to be -2oC

    What this means is…. compacted snow, with ice under it. This is what you get most of the time in Ottawa.

    Here’s your checklist.

    Winter tires. This is non-negotiable. Not all-season, not all-weather. Big, thick, hefty, open-tread-looks-like-an-off-road-tire winter tires. Goodyear Nordic. Michellin X-Ice. etc.

    The ability to use the gas pedal with some caution. Same with brake. Neither of these pedals are on/off switches, despite what a large number of people think.

    Appropriate safety gear. A shovel.

    When you/we get 30+cm (what is that in American? About a foot, give or take) you ARE going to get stuck in a car. You just are. The question will not be will you get stuck or not, but rather, can you get yourself out either with the motion of the vehicle (rocking back and forth) or some judicious application of shovel and sweat. That you will get stuck in a sedan, even with snow tires, is inevitable: the snow on the road won’t stop you: the berms at the side of the road/less travelled roads that the plows leave (2-5ft tall) will. I did minor plastic damage blowing though one of those berms (bank st, southbound crossing walkley for those local to Ottawa) to my AWD/winter-tire-shod ’05 Forester but otherwise, no issues with getting hung up. I saw a lot of people hung-up on those same berms, or just stuck in them.

    On the 29th, I was on vacation: I helped no less than 11 cars/vans/SUV’s get moving, either by digging, pushing, or helping tow/drag out of snow berms. Every. Single. One. Still had all-seasons on. I helped the same VW Jetta (’06) three times before I told him I wasn’t helping again, and he should back up, and go home).

    For all that, it’s not THAT bad. A storm like that hits the capital region maybe five or six times a year.

    Once the winter tires are on, technique and good driving are everything: anticipate where you need to be, change your route as necessitated by blockages left by plows, and above all…. know when to stay home. Very seriously. Best drivers in the snow? Know when not to bother. If you can tele-work? Bonus! Do THAT. IF you have to commute/travel in that weather? Plan it outside of rush-hour, if possible. Otherwise, plan your route, stay on the mains, go slow and steady.

    Common sense is NOT that common, I’ll be honest, but most of it is just that.

    ALso, keep your gas tank at least 1/2 full at all times, if the forecast is calling for a storm, fill it beforehand: At the very least, you’ll have gas to keep the engine running while you wait two to three hours for a tow truck.

    It should also go without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) car in good repair will save your bacon (mmmm, bacon). something breaking because of the weather, a weird pull from a snowbank/rut etc is a lousy way to spend your time, same with an engine that quits in the cold.

    • 0 avatar
      Waftable Torque

      I usually carry steel traction aids on my winter tire-equipped RWD for those instances when I get stuck. I used to have an assigned outdoor parking stall up until last year where I couldn’t even rock my way out. They’ve been a life saver, and used them about 25-30 times total. I’ve never had a FWD car in which I’ve ever needed them.

      The traction aids have a finite number of uses before they get bent out of shape. The plastic ones are useless, because they don’t dig into the ice and snow. They have to be immobile to work. Sand is messy to work with and actually doesn’t work when it gets really cold.

  • avatar
    Hudzen-10

    I live in Ottawa as well and as most of the commenters have pointed out, French is not necessary. Most if not all people speak English, but some rudimentary words (Oui = Yes, Non = No, etc) are helpful to have.

    As for the Florida car, my wife brought up her 2001 Accord in 2008, and it lasted quite a while. I wouldn’t worry about rust, but be more concerned about your rubber parts. Going from extreme heat to extreme cold seems to have done a number on the Accord (stiff window gaskets, windshield washer lines that broke, etc).

    No need for an AWD vehicle unless you live in the country. Snow tires are a must. Top tip, get some extra rims to put the tires on. Saves time and money in the long run. Having said that, four bolt pattern rims that you’ll need are super cheap. Saw a set at local Canadian Tire that were selling them on clearance for $10 a piece.

    If you’re looking for a replacement, I’d go with the 2016 Civic. It’s the same size as your Accord (maybe bigger in some spots), and since it’s made in North America, should be any duty issue. Also, get it in Canada. With the exchange rate the way it is, it’s like $3000 to $4000 grand cheaper here.

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    I’d get something much newer, I dunno man, carting kids around in beat up old cars … you’d never forgive yourself if you had a big one. Newer cars are so much safer it is hard to ignore.

    Personally, i’d be looking for a used Equinox or something similar.

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      A ’98 and ’04 are not especially old cars in my opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        sco

        Just to bring us back to reality, this guy is leaving his wife with one and three year olds in a 12 year old accord to take a temporary job (presumably for monetary reasons), probably living without a garage, and hoping to do his own repairs and make it through three winters with a 18 year old Accord. Hey, I’m no sensationalist and I’m as frugal as anyone but this degree of cheapness – no good.

        • 0 avatar

          Doesn’t seem bad to me, hauling 3 kids in a 16 year old Durango and a 15 year old XC70. If you can do your own repairs and still have the car start in the morning, your just wasting money buying something else. No financial reason to buy a new car just an emotional one which is fine by me if you want to but don’t say its anything else.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        Depending on when redesigns were done, an ’04 might have been engineered in the late 90s and an ’98 in the early 90s. The standards have changed enough that the vast majority of cars that were five stars in the mid 2000s would be one star now. An ’04 might be barely tolerable in terms of safety if it was recently designed and you’re only worried about rear-seat occupants, but a ’98 is truly ancient.

        If you go to EuroNCAP and look at cars that were designed in the ’90s the differences are staggering. When I was looking a few years ago I noticed that even ’03 and ’04 3-series BMWs had footwell intrusions in offset crash tests; that kind of thing is unthinkable now. Software and materials advances have made the current state-of-the-art – current-gen designs, basically – orders of magnitudes better than even a few years ago.

        There are a few outliers, like Volvos and Saabs (The old-gen Saab 9-5, designed in ’97, was still among the safest cars out there until the latest turnover in ~2012 or so) but now even those are pretty far behind.

  • avatar
    iMatt

    I lived in Montreal for two years with a 96 Accord wagon. It worked fine with the only mechanical issues being a bad thermostat and a typically worn out suspension. I recommend 4 winter tires rather than only 2 unless you like FWD over-steer all the time.

    Also, be prepared to kiss that presumably nice car goodbye as after a few salt drenched winters, it will never be the same.

    One more thing to add, that Honda had 496 000 kms (308 k miles) before a bad ball joint crippled it permanently. I definitely would have fixed it, as the rest of the car was in decent enough shape, had I not been a starving student.

  • avatar

    Background: I grew up in Accords (1993, 2003) living in a rural snow belt in Ontario, drove a FWD car while living in Ottawa, and now live in Montreal.

    Answer: The vast majority of people in Canada still operate FWD cars in winter, the Accord is absolutely fine if you know how to drive. No, all-seasons are not good enough. Winters are an absolute must, whether the car is AWD or FWD. Lots of people in Ottawa drive AWDs, but more for convenience (they are simply nicer to drive in winter) than necessity. Have a shovel, have salt, maybe some cat litter.

    French? Only necessary if you want to develop your career in Ottawa. Those who are bilingual, go farther, but Ottawa is fully fluent in English, you will always be able to speak English and read the English version of any document. You may face situations where you don`t deal with certain clients or get certain projects because of a lack of French, however. Its largely the same in Quebec, across the river, although you’ll get nasty eyed in some situations for speaking English (just play up being from the states).

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Winter tires on FWD are fine, because the area is reasonably flat. The only problem in snow is if it’s too deep for that car’s low ground clearance.

    As mentioned by others upthread, my real concern is with other components of the car that are old and may never have been exposed to cold weather. Make sure your timing belt and water pump have been replaced within the last 5 years and on the mileage schedule. Have a mechanic triple-check every belt and hose in your car, and replace any that are even slightly doubtful. Check your axles as well. It’s probably worth pre-emptively investing in a new battery unless your existing one is new within the last couple of years. Expect possible accessory failure (power steering pump, alternator, A/C system, thermostat) when it first gets cold. Also expect that wheel bearings may act up.

    Save for minor failures, that Accord should be fine for the duration, assuming it’s a four-cylinder (which I assume because you didn’t make any references to transmission replacement). That powertrain is easily capable of 300,000 miles without a problem.

  • avatar
    Onus

    People are telling you to get a car in Canada. Don’t!

    It is much easier to import a US car into Canada and to return it to the US afterwards.

    Importing a Canadian car into the us is much more difficult.

    Since your assignment is only 3 years you’ll probably want to keep whatever car you have.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I live near the west coast of Michigan which is like Canada but with lake effect snow. A few years ago I was driving a MY01 Accord Coupe with a V6 & auto. With all-season (ha!) tires, it was passable in the winter but could have traction problems with getting up my driveway which has a small incline. Braking was also an issue on the icier days. If the weather was really bad, I would work from home while my wife would take my ol’ Toyota T100 4X4 with snow tires.

    My current beater – a RWD ’04 BMW 325i with a 5MT – actually does better than the Honda, thanks to a set of Blizzaks. Without the snow tires the beemer is pretty useless. I’ve even taken this car up to my parents, who live out in the middle of nowhere where the roads are rarely plowed. It was me… and a bunch of pickup trucks going down treacherous 2-track roads. I didn’t get stuck but I’ve been driving RWD ever since I got my license.

    long story short – an Accord with four snows will be pretty much unstoppable unless you try to drive through a thick pile of the white stuff. Once you start riding the body on top of the snow, the car will start losing traction. But in a city that’s going to take a major blizzard to happen since – at least around my city – the roads are cleared within a few hours of a big snowfall.

  • avatar
    John

    Mois, je suis Quebecqois – I think you want “d’Accorde”.
    Your Honda Accord will be the least of your worries when you are faced with a divorce due to essentially abandoning your family. Florida is a no-fault, 50/50 division of property state, so likely you will lose half of your assets, plus pay child support, and possibly alimony. If you value your marriage, I’d tell your employer “Nice try, I’ll pass.”.

  • avatar
    EAF

    FWD + snow tires = win. I’ve always owned Blizzaks, always purchased slightly used during off-seasons (I’m frugal as well).

    175k miles for either the J30 or F20 engines I’d consider mid-aged; plenty of life left. These engines run indefinitely on oil changes and timing belt intervals.

    If you have the J30, the transmission is the weak link, drain and fills every 35k is what I would have been doing.

    If you decide to replace the ’98 the CRV is a great idea! Good luck to you in Canada.

  • avatar
    bufguy

    I live in Buffalo and we get a lot more snow than Ottawa….check it out….The one thing about living in a northern city like Ottawa, Buffalo, Toronto etc. is that snow removal is pretty damned good. It takes well over a foot of snow for us to even consider closing schools because the plows work all night to remove it…Sure we get storms that shut down the city for a day or two, but they are rare and in a few days everything is up and running…So don’t let the snow scare you, you will get used to it…..With that said…Buy snow tires.

  • avatar
    minivanman

    I am a French-speaking resident of Gatineau, which is essentially a suburb of Ottawa, but across the Ottawa River/Rivière des Outaouais in the Province of Québec.
    – Heavy snowfalls (10 to 16 inches) only happen a couple of times a year. You should not have any problem getting to work the rest of the time with an Accord with winter tires. Main roads are generally back to bare pavement the day after a snowfall.
    – I’ve never seen seen snow in May, and rarely after mid-April (a few inches only, gone by the next day). The first snow is usually in mid-November, but there was none until Dec. 29 this year. A few years ago, all the snow melted in February and none came after. As a general rule, though, you need winter tires from mid-November to mid-May.
    – Ice should actually be more of a concern than snow. Temperatures can vary widely from one day to the next. With snow melting one day and freezing overnight and occasional freezing rain, roads can get quite slippery. That’s why I bought Michelin X-Ice tires over other models that are better suited to snowy roads.
    – You do not need to worry about learning French. Most French speakers in the Ottawa area (including on the Québec side of the river) speak some English, a significant number of them fluently.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    I did a stint of 5 years in Halifax. I am going to go via a different route as opposed to everyone here. During my experience I found out that what really matters is not necessarily FWD, RWD, AWD but definitely higher ground clearance. Well, it did, at least in my case. My job required me to be at work at 5AM. Often times, the snow plow operators would create huge piles of snow at the end of my driveway. I would have to wake up an extra 40-45 min earlier just to clean the end of the driveway up. Often times, my sleep was very precious. I would just skim it off the top and plough through it with my truck in 4×4 low. Many times, particularly during week-end storms, I would be on the road before the snow plow. My job required me to go to the airport which for the guys familiar with Halifax, it is in the middle of nowhere.
    I had a Honda Ridgeline and it performed admirably through 5 winters. The last two were brutal. I also had another co-worker with an Audi A4, Quattro, sport package, with winter tires. He got stuck quite a lot because of ground clearance. His winter tires and AWD did not help him. He is a very accomplished driver who used to reside in Philadelphia. For my first winter there I’ve used my stocks Michelin LTX which had 35K miles on them. I did OK but the second winter I bought all weather tires ( not all season) Nokian WRG2 SUV. They can be used in summer as well as winter. They are great tires but are pricy and don’t last long. For my last winter, I’ve purchased regular all seasons and I did ok.
    Depending what time of the morning you have to be at work, you could be ok with the Accord, but do get snow tires for sure. If you have to be there really early, get a CRV or equivalent with good all seasons such as Michelin LTX MS2. My wife used them in her FWD Pilot for the whole 5 years we were there and she did great. She had to take our son to school in downtown but by that time the roads were cleared.
    Both my vehicles had Florida plates the whole time I was there while maintaining insurance and registration in Florida. I am sure I got some funny looks at 0430 hrs driving on the road in the middle of winter on my way to work.

  • avatar
    spamvw

    Someone mentioned making sure your antifreeze was up to snuff. Make sure to get rid of your windshield washer fluid and get something that can handle -40F.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    One more note: seize the opportunity. The kids are young, and last minute Ottawa-to-Tampa (or Orlando) flights are cheap if you need a break from the winter weather.

    Working internationally can do wonders for your career long-term.

    Don’t worry about the snow too much. The worst of it occurs in January, February and March. The joke is that February is the longest month of the year in Canada, but you’ll do OK if you ski and skate and enjoy your time there. Little tip: Ottawa ski slopes are just OK. Plan a trip to Mont Tremblant north of Montreal if you want a bigger challenge, or to Lake Placid.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Kids need their parents even more when they’re young than when they’re older.

      Personally, my career as a father comes before my professional career. International work on the resume only demonstrates a willingness to do more of the same for the Firm. It may never end. You can keep it.

      As for winter driving, FWD and four good snow tires are fine.

  • avatar
    Monster.Hair

    Your car will be fine with a set of studless snow tires. Though, what will the kids do during March and April, as tax season sets in heavy? I assume you have a better network of support in Tampa. I’d only consider it if there was a solid resolution about your wife being a single parent while you’re up on Ottawa living the bachelor life.

  • avatar
    stodge

    I would say you don’t need to speak French to live in Ottawa but you probably do need it if you want to work here. It depends on the industry you want to work in but you will be severely hampered in most careers if you can’t speak French. My wife can attest to that! From our experience in her job it’s more the language you can speak than the skillset you have.

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    Moving to Canada eh?

    Enjoy filing your FBAR’s and FACTA forms you tax cheater you (that’s tax code talk for any US expatriate)……

    You’re about to learn that the US hates anyone who leaves ‘Merica.

    BTW winter in Ottawa sucks. Even by Canadian standards. You can’t skate on that canal every day…..

  • avatar
    ect

    Mark, Pete is not coming to Canada as a tourist, but as an immigrant on a work permit, so his situation is not the same as a Canadian who shops for a car in the US.

    He can bring a car into Canada as part of his personal possessions (“settlor’s effects”). He will, though, have to meet Canadian emissions standards and a few other things – including replacing the instrument cluster with metric instrumentation/odometer – and the car will need to be registered in Ontario (he won’t be able to insure it, otherwise).

    When we moved from the US to Canada, I didn’t consider moving either of our then 8-year old cars, because I couldn’t justify the cost and hassle of it. A friend of mine did, but he was driving a 1-year old loaded T&C, so the value equation was quite different.

    I would advise Pete to leave the Accord at home, and buy a suitable used car in Ottawa that he can sell when he returns to the US. If it’s already 4-5 years old, he won’t lose a lot on depreciation, and he’ll save the whole importation process.

    • 0 avatar
      john66ny

      Vehicles over 15 years old are exempt from all that. Also if you are coming in with a valid work permit for 36 months or less. So not an issue.

      I drove an ’86 Accord as a winter beater for a couple seasons. 4 snows and you’re good to go.

      If you want to try to save the body, go with the Krown as mentioned above.

      Also, don’t count on doing your own wrenching during the winter, unless you have a heat-able garage.

  • avatar
    don1967

    A low-torque, FWD sedan (a.k.a. Honda) with good winter tires is by far the most cost-effective solution for Canadian winters.

    Point Final.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    It depends on how deep the snow is where you plan to drive. If you live somewhere where they regularly plow the streets, you’ll probably be fine with a good set of snow tires. If you live where they don’t plow the streets, then you’ll probably have problems.

    I have a 2004 Honda Civic and managed to get through winter with all-season tires for almost a decade until my city decided to demote my street in the list of priorities for getting plowed. They still plow the street, but not until about 2 or 3 weeks after the snowfall. When there’s more than a foot of snow, the car will sort of drive along on top of the snow, and then it sinks and gets stuck. It just doesn’t have the ground clearance to get through the snow.

    Sometimes, after getting stuck to where I can’t go forward anymore, I can back up into my driveway.

    Sometimes when there’s a lot of wind combined with warm temperatures, the snow will melt on top and then refreeze, creating a hard crust on top of the snow. If I try to drive through it, frozen ice will build up behind the front bumper fascia and in front of the air-conditioning condenser (which is mounted on the front side of the front cross-member). I’ve had to replace it because it was leaking and think it was damaged by ice.

    Two or three days after a snowfall, there will have been enough traffic (4×4 pickups and SUVs) in front of my house that the snow will be packed down enough that I can drive on it, but it’s a pain having to wait for that to happen.

    I’m planning to replace the Civic with either a RAV4, CR-V, Forester or 4-cylinder Outback in the next couple of years. Cheaper than moving.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    either would be great for 3 yrs. theyre virgins from living in fla.

    id pick the oldest, (98) and throw some snows on it. with only 3 years of salt you should get some $$$ back.

    canuck faves are canuck made. civics, FCA minivans, etc. dont let that scare ya

  • avatar
    danio3834

    – Will a good set of snow tires on the ’98 Accord be enough to get by?

    Yes. If you’re going North of Ottawa in Quebec, they’re a requirement. In Ontario, your insurance company will give you a discount.

    – When and/or if my ’98 Accord freezes to death, what should I replace it with? If it comes to this, I would probably travel south to Vermont or New York to buy the replacement car.

    Buy a car in Canada, especially if your savings are in USD. Canadian prices haven’t fully caught up with the exchange rate discrepancy, so buying in Canada sooner than later will net you a better deal. What to replace it with? I would imagine another 4 door midsize sedan.

    – Would I have to get a Canada car for my wife? The assumption here is all-wheel drive. Yes, CR-V is an option. I have heard that Ottawa can get some impressive snow from April through to May which would require her to drive in the snow.

    Back to question 2. With your US dollars, take your pick at a discount. You can get by without AWD, but having it helps. Plain FWD cars are still very popular in snowy Ottawa and Montreal.

    – Do I need to learn French?

    In Ottawa, you’ll be OK with just English, but pretty well everyone speaks SOME French. In Quebec, it’s necessary, even though most people in the bigger towns and cities do speak some English. It’s the principle of it. Show some effort, take some basic lessons, and you’ll be fine.

    With regards to importing your US vehicles, it’s relatively easy. Ensure there are no outstanding recalls, they have daytime running lights, pay the $200 RIV fee at the border and AC tax, get it inspected then register. That being said, if you were at all thinking about replacing the car in the near future, sell it in the US for US dollars where you will get max value for it. Take that money and roll it into something in Canada where you can buy more car for your USD.

  • avatar

    Current Ottawa resident here.
    Your Accord will be fine with a decent set of Winter tires (Blizzak, X-Ice, Conti WinterContact SI)
    They salt the roads like crazy so it’ll be good to have an older vehicle for the winter.
    One thing to check that may sound silly. A former coworker imported his Ford from the southern US and it didn’t have standard rear defrost. That caused him a huge PITA in the Winter. I’m sure it’s no longer an issue.
    As for your other vehicle:
    In my neighborhood there are essentially 4 vehicles that dominate.
    Subaru Impreza / Forester
    Toyota Rav4
    Honda CRV

    CRV and Rav4 AWD systems are vastly inferior.
    That said, there are a lot of small sedans that do just fine including a Sonic.
    I have never owned a 4×4 or awd vehicle and have driven in nasty conditions and ski regularly in Quebec.

    Your winter considerations in Ottawa will be as follows:

    1)Ice, including black ice – This is the most dangerous as it can’t always be seen and can cause things to go badly quickly.
    2)Snow – They are very good at clearing snow in Ottawa. If you can, find a place that doesn’t require on-street parking.
    There are overnight winter parking bans in Ottawa that become a pain in the butt.
    3)Ground clearance – When they clear the main roads, they leave large snowbanks that you have to cross.

    Good luck with the move and bring your ice skates for the canal :-)

  • avatar
    Lurker_n

    Also lives in Ottawa, drives a RWD with winter tire. Did a quick scan of the comment, didn’t see anyone bring up winter driving school. $300CAD (like USD220 now?) 1 day driving school by MCO (Motorsport club of Ottawa), it’d be good for your wife to get some winter driving lessons in closed course. Google or Youtube clips of the school, welcome to Ottawa.


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