The weather is finally starting to get a bit chillier, but fear not! Although there’s nothing we can do to stop winter from coming, there are several measures that will help keep your car safe. Check out these five steps that ensure you will be free from a stranded night on the side of the road in a -12 degree blizzard!
1. Keep a supply kit handy.
Even the most trusty of cars needs to have a supply kit that will help with a possible break down in freezing weather. Having winter tools in your car for surprise snow (Nashville got a lot of this last year) is also definitely advisable.
An ice scraper for those frosty mornings can help your defroster get to work a lot quicker. An ice brush will be able to break away any pieces of ice that your windshield wipers aren’t getting, as well. Guys, I cannot tell you how much easier this is if you go ahead and keep these tools in your car! Last year, I found myself scraping away at a thick sheet of ice with a clothes hanger. It wasn’t a great look.
Although you should always have jumper cables in your car, there are a few other things that you might need to add that you didn’t think of. In case of emergency, pack a warmer set of clothes, disposable hand warmers, gloves, a rain poncho, food bars, a few bottles of water, nylon rope, a flashlight, and a first aid kit.
Regardless of the season, it’s not a bad idea to keep a survival kit in your car at all times. It could seriously be a lifesaver. I’ve seen one too many episodes of I Survived to know that these things make a difference.
Visit the Red Cross website to purchase one of their winter supply kits, which fits compactly in your car.
2. Change to winter-friendly solvents.
FYI, did you know that when you spray your window fluid onto your windshield during the winter that it freezes quickly and completely blocks your vision? Yeah, I guess I didn’t get that memo either. In my defense, winters in the South last for about 1.2 seconds. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it!
Turns out, there is window solvent that you can buy that is specifically designed for winter. They even have one that is a de-icer. WHAT. Brb, while I stock my house full of this stuff.
You can buy a jug of this fancy window fluid right here for less than $4.00. Oh, the things I wish I would’ve known before…
If you aren’t into the whole DIY thing, then you can ask to have your car winterized at your next oil change. The auto technician should be able to put some anti-freezing window solvent into your car for you.
3. Take your car to get routine maintenance performed.
Okay, this goes without saying, but I feel the need to say it. You have to get your car’s maintenance done regularly or you will be suffering the major consequences of not doing so later on. There’s no holding your breath on this one. It will happen if you don’t do it. $50.00 every now and then will not kill you.
Getting your oil changed and having routine maintenance done is important, especially around winter time. The last thing you want is your car breaking down during the middle of a freezing cold snow storm.
Changing your air filters and getting the rest of your car checked out allows for your car to run efficiently and effectively. I repeat, asking to have your car winterized before the cold weather strikes is always a great idea. You might not know how to do every thing, but I assure you that your oil technician will be able to help.
4. Fill up those tires or get new ones!
How does it seems that every time winter comes around, your car suddenly freaks out and starts showing low tire pressure? Seriously, it never fails.
There’s all kinds of oxygen and hydrogen molecules floating around in those tires of yours. Basically, during the summer months, those molecules have the capacity to expand. During the winter, it’s a different story. The molecules contract when they are in contact with cold air, thus deflating your tires and creating a constant reminder from your car that you need to put more air into them.
Tire pressure is essentially reliant on the weather outside, so keep that in mind next time your car warns you that you only have 28 lbs. of pressure in that one pesky tire.
Also be sure to check the amount of tread left on your tires. If your tires are looking like Bruce Willis, you need to definitely invest in some new ones. Car accidents in the winter are absolutely 0% fun/enjoyable.
5. Make sure your battery is charged up/in-date.
Finally, that battery needs to be on full throttle, ladies and gents. While getting your maintenance done, have your auto guys run a test to make sure that you’ve got a reasonable amount of charge left.
Otherwise, take it to any auto body shop and they should be able to do it for you. Most people are nice and willing to help, if you present your case in a friendly enough way.
Most shops like AutoZone will also be able to test your battery out and help you purchase a new one if yours is too old to function properly. I’ve found myself in this position a few times, but thankfully most batteries are less expensive than getting your transmission replaced.
The winter weather can certainly take a toll on your car, so make sure that you are taking care of your pride and joy this season, while also ensuring that your chances of safety are significantly higher!