Ask the experts.

CAA October 21, 2019
Photo showing closeup of winter tires churning up snow on a snow-covered road.

How to get the most traction this winter and dealing with a car break-in.

I’m in the market for a new vehicle, but I’m not sure if I want all-wheel or four-wheel drive. What’s the difference?

It’s a common question, especially given the threat of another long Manitoba winter. Years ago, finding a vehicle with all-wheel (AWD) or fourwheel drive (4WD) meant getting a large truck or SUV, but as the technology has become more widely available, it’s now common to find such vehicles in every shape and size.

AWD powers both the front and rear wheels all the time. It gives you maximum traction during acceleration and when driving in sloppy, snowy road conditions. Some vehicles may use two-wheel drive mode and switch automatically to AWD when extra traction is needed. Other vehicles use AWD on a full-time basis.

4WD sends power to both front and rear wheels equally, but you have to shift into 4WD from two-wheel drive. Modern systems are either fulltime—which can be similar to AWD—or part-time. Vehicles with 4WD are best suited for severe off-road situations, like climbing over boulders or up steep hills with loose terrain.

For most drivers, an AWD vehicle works just fine. Many cars and SUVs on the market are available with AWD, but trucks will vary between AWD and 4WD. One key consideration is fuel consumption: AWD and 4WD models use more gas, so take that into account when shopping for a vehicle that fits your lifestyle and budget.

The type of vehicle best-suited to your driving habits depends on many factors. Talk to your salesperson to determine what will work best for your needs.

- Ed Franz,
Supervisor, Automotive Tech Services

My car was broken into. Is it covered by Autopac or my home insurance?

In most cases, if something is stolen from your vehicle, it’d be covered under your home insurance policy. Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) does not cover the contents of any vehicle or trailer. If you choose to file a claim through your home insurance policy, you will have to pay the deductible and you’ll likely lose your claims-free discount. So before filing a claim, you’ll want to assess whether the value of the stolen goods is worth it—or if you’re better off replacing the goods on your own. Your broker can help you understand the associated costs.

If there was no damage to the vehicle itself, you don’t need to make a claim with MPI. But you should file a police report: Most home insurance policies require it if you’re making a claim. Plus, doing so can help you reclaim any stolen goods if they’re eventually recovered.

If vehicle damage did occur as a result of the break-in, you’ll need to file a report with MPI. For glass-only claims, like a smashed window, report it directly to a participating repair shop; find a list of shops at

MPI does cover equipment that’s permanently attached to a vehicle, like sound and communications devices such as CD/ DVD players and CB radios. A $1,000 limit applies to all costs associated with the claim, including the actual cash value of the equipment, installation costs, applicable taxes and other applicable fees.

- Carmelle Hyska,
Autopac Specialist