Welcome to winter! Snow, ice, and cold can be a special challenge for your body and mind, as well as important elements in your life, including your car. Is your vehicle ready for winter? Otherwise, there are a few things you can do to make sure your car starts on cold mornings and survives even the nastiest winter weather.
Check under the hood. Make sure your battery and all its connections are clean and secure; well placed hoses and straps; your oil and oil filter changes up to date; your clean air filter; radiator flushed and refilled; and your engine well tuned. One of the biggest contributors to a car not starting is the battery. If it is old and needs to be replaced, please do so now before you go on that long journey.
Look at the windshield. In addition to the obvious cracks in the windshield that you may have replaced, make sure the windshield wiper compartment is clear of debris. Ice and snow can freeze your windshield wipers in place rendering them completely ineffective. Never use hot water on a windshield to remove ice. You’ll remove the ice without a problem … and break the glass in the process!
Look at the tires. Properly inflated all-season tires are usually all you need for winter driving. In some areas, however, chains may be required. Keep a set in your trunk for emergencies.
Bring an emergency kit. It doesn’t take much to get stranded in the winter. Even the best maintained vehicle can get stuck in a snow bank or ditch. Carrying a fully charged cell phone for emergencies is essential when driving through an uninhabited place. The following items should be part of an emergency kit that you have kept in your vehicle at all times:
* Flash light with spare batteries
* Jump cables
* Tire chains
* Ice scraper / brush
* Litter or cat litter for traction
* Automatic tools
* Wire coat rack
* Candles, matches
* Distress signal
* Medical kit
* Gas line antifreeze; ice blocking antifreeze spray
If you travel frequently on back roads and are in remote areas, it is advisable to bring an extra set of hats, gloves and coats, as well as several blankets. Some people carry chocolate with them at all times, which can be a great [and delicious!] energy booster and fresh water [don’t leave it in the car as it will get frozen].
If you find yourself stuck in snow, make sure the exhaust is clear of snow if you run your car while idle. Keep a window ajar to allow air to circulate; Turn off the engine every ten minutes for half an hour or more to avoid carbon monoxide buildup inside the car.
You can survive the dangers of winter with a little extra care and caution. Properly equip your car today to make sure your next trip is safe, regardless of prevailing road and weather conditions.