10 Things to do to Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter
Is your vehicle as safe as it can be for your family’s winter travels? These 10 checks are quick, cost-effective ways to ensure your vehicle is ready for the cold weather and precipitation ahead.
1.) Schedule a tune up. Like your yearly doctor’s visit, a visit to your mechanic will check for damaged parts. They will also top off your vehicle’s fluids. In cold weather and especially when combined with road salt, cracks and rust that are small now can quickly grow into much bigger problems. Take care of them now before you get stuck on the road in the freezing cold later with a much bigger bill.
2.) Throw a blanket in the trunk. If you’re stranded or broken down in the freezing temperatures, it’s easy for you to get cold quickly. A blanket takes up very little space and can play a role in saving your life if disaster strikes.
3.) Replace chipped or cracked ice scrapers. Anyone who has ever broken their ice scraper during a snowstorm and had to scrape their windshield with a credit card can attest that this is a must-do.
4.) Add a bag of kitty litter to your trunk space. Large SUVs and trucks that aren’t full have a tendency to swerve in icy conditions. The kitty litter can be enough to weigh down the back end for more stability and can be used on top of ice to achieve grip for your tires if you are stuck.
5.) Make sure all your auxiliary device charging cables are in the car. If you’re stuck, you’ll want to have enough power to call someone to help. In the event that you’re stuck for hours, you’ll want your phone to last for hours. Keep your phone as charged as possible during severe weather conditions for maximum usability.
6.) Add a large bright orange t-shirt to your trunk. It may seem silly but buying a cheap bright orange shirt from a craft store to keep in your trunk is awfully handy in the event of an emergency. You’ll want it to be big enough that you can fit it over your coat if you need to get out of the vehicle and need to be seen for safety or rescue. You can also use it as a flag to wave down passing good Samaritans or an emergency worker.
7.) Keep at parachute cord bracelet (or just cord) in the glove box. It’s amazing what you can pull with a simple length of parachute cord. The extra strong material can be used to get vehicles out of ditches and move vehicles that have slid off the road back onto the road.
8.) Replace your wiper blades. We use winter weather wiper blades on our personal vehicles all year round. Their extra sturdy nature is not just good in snow and sleet but also in torrential downpours. If you don’t use them all year round, you’ll want to be sure to invest in some even if you don’t necessarily live in a snow-prone area. If you don’t want to purchase winter weather wiper blades, you should still replace the wiper blades on your vehicle every 6-12 months.
9.) Check your tires. Do a simple penny test to determine if it’s time to replace your tires. Insert a penny into your tire’s tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tread depth is less than 2/32 inch and it’s time to replace your tires. If you live in a particularly snowy or icy region you’ll want to ask your mechanic about whether or not snow tires would be a good investment.
10.) Replace any burned out lightbulbs and ensure all existing bulbs are in proper working order. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a snowstorm or a rainstorm. Either way your headlights can not only help you find your way but it can let other vehicles know you’re coming or going. For everyone’s safety, make sure all your lights are working.