Winter Driving – Are You Ready?

We have all heard of those stories about people’s cars breaking down or getting stranded in the middle of nowhere in three feet of snow on the coldest day of the year. It always happens under the worst conditions for these unfortunate motorists.

What do I really need to have my car ready for winter driving?

It is a question many people ask and it is a good question to ask. The last thing anyone wants or needs is for their car to break down on a snowy road in the middle of winter.

Here is a checklist of items from Ken’s Automotive, along with some maintenance items that are recommended by AAA, to ensure that your car is ready for winter driving conditions:

  • Battery checked
  • Level and condition of your Anti-freeze
  • Thermostat
  • Heater
  • Defroster
  • Tires, adequate tread (snow tires are best because the tread is more aggressive for better road traction on those snowy and slushy roads)
  • Tire pressure
  • Spare tire. Do you have one? Is it in good shape? Has it expired?
  • Wiper Blades. One thing that is often overlooked. Incur the extra expense and invest in top quality wiper blades that can swipe through the snow, slush and ice.
  • Make sure the nozzles where the windshield wiper fluid comes out are unclogged. Snow and ice can prevent these from shooting the wiper fluid out onto your windshield.
  • Cooling system flushed
  • Transmission fluid checked. It should be a bright, clean pink color.
  • Is your 4 wheel drive working? We tend to overlook this one because we haven’t used it all spring and summer so we forget about it.
  • And of course, it is really important to make sure all your maintenance repairs are up to date (oil changes, plugs, timing belts and car hoses). Have a trusted auto service and repair shop check to be sure all are in good condition.

Keeping up with your car’s maintenance schedule on a regular basis and checking off the above suggestions will help keep you and your family safe and give you worry free driving throughout the winter. After all, isn’t peace of mind worth it?

Winter Driving Car Emergency Kit

Are you and your vehicle ready for winter? Before you head out onto the snow covered icy roads this winter, make sure you are prepared! It is really important to put together a winter survival kit for your vehicle, especially if you travel with children on a regular basis.

The following suggestions are very useful. I know because they have come in handy for me personally and maybe we will talk about that another day…maybe.

Five things you should always have in your car in the winter in case of an emergency

Items to keep you safe and warm while you wait for help

One of the most important and probably at the top of the list is bottled water. Keeping hydrated can help you think clearly and help to keep you focused. Along, with water I would consider some high protein snacks, such as granola bars, nuts, power bars anything that will not perish quickly and can be kept in your car.

Blankets… can never have enough of these on a cold day; especially if you are stuck in snow and waiting for someone to come and get you.

Lighter, matches and flashlights with extra batteries. I would suggest you these are kept in a sealed tight container to prevent them from getting wet.

Communication. Call for help.

Before you leave your house make sure your cell phone is completely charged.

Traction

If you have a rear wheel drive vehicle a bag of sand over each wheel will help you keep traction in the snow. A shovel, cat litter and/or sand will also be very helpful in getting you out of the snow when stuck.

Plenty of Fuel

A full tank of gas is important. When the gas tank is full it helps prevent moisture from building up in the tank. This in turns helps your car to start faster on those cold mornings.

Remove all snow from your vehicle

Always carry a snow brush and an ice scraper in your vehicle. Make sure all of the snow is removed from your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, the windshield and the hood of your car prior to driving in winter conditions. This helps increase your visibility and allows other vehicles to see you on those cold, cloudy, and snowy days ahead.

Driving in the snow can be less stressful and maybe even enjoyable when you and your car are in tip top shape and ready for the unexpected.

Drive safe everyone!