Winter has already made it’s appearance here in the Northeast. I honestly don’t mind snow. I just hate shoveling it and driving in it. I’m also not too fond of what it does to my car. All that rock salt does a lot of damage to your car, not to mention it makes your car look very dirty and disgusting.
I live within walking distance of a car wash. Every time there is a nice sunny day during the Winter months the car wash is packed. People line up around the block to get all the dirt and salt washed off their car.
I am a paranoid driver when it snows. If I so much as see a snowflake when I’m driving I panic. Many years ago my car lost control during a snowstorm and spun around several times (going down a steep hill no less). Thankfully I wasn’t hurt and my car was not damaged. The only “damage” was to my psyche. Now whenever it snows I freak out if I have to drive in it.
It’s very important that you make sure your car is in tip top shape before the the Winter starts. By taking some precautions you can help protect your car and your safety.
Here are some great tips from the International Carwash Association (ICA) for getting your car ready for winter. ICA, through its Wash With WaterSavers consumer awareness campaign, is committed to promoting the importance of using eco-friendly carwashes that use less fresh water and return clean water back into the environment.
5 Tips to Getting Your Car Ready For Winter
Wash and wax your car at a professional car wash – It may seem counterintuitive to get your car nice and shiny for what’s often the sloppiest season, but a thorough wash can remove harmful compounds that may cause damage when mixed with sand and road salt. Experts from the International Carwash Association also recommend a coat of wax for an extra layer of protection from the elements.
- Professional car washes can also save up to 20 percent of the amount of water you’d use by washing your car at home. They do this by treating and reusing their water, rather than releasing toxic chemicals and grime into the storm drains, which can often occur with pavement washing. Check out www.washwithwatersavers.com to see how professional car washes save water and help prevent pollution.
Check fluids – Check your coolant to make sure you have enough, as you’ll be left without heat if you don’t. Consult your owner’s manual to find the correct blend if you need to add more. It’s never a bad idea to keep extra coolant in your trunk in case of an emergency. Don’t forget about extra wiper fluid, either. It’s not expensive, so stock up!
Winter emergency kit – In addition to stocking your car with a scraper and brush, it’s a good idea to include a few provisions in case you get stranded in snowy and cold conditions. Pack extra blankets, hats and gloves, high-energy snacks like granola bars, drinking water and a first-aid kit.
Test your battery – The next time you have the car in for an oil change, ask the mechanic to test your battery to make sure it can provide enough starting power once the temperature plummets.
Check your wipers – When sloppy weather hits, you’ll want to make sure you have strong wiper blades to see through the elements. Checking your wiper blades for wear and replacing them if needed can prevent huge visibility headaches once snow and sleet arrive.
I would like to add to these tips.
Check your tires. Replace balding tires and use snow tires whenever possible. The last thing you want is to slide around on slick roads with bald tires.
Join a roadside assistance club. Like my mom used to always say to me, “Better safe than sorry”. Some clubs are only a few dollars a month and pay for themselves the first time you need a tow or a jump start.
Keep a change of clothing in your car. Just in case you find yourself stuck on the side of the road and you get wet, the last thing you want is to have to sit in your car and wait for help in wet clothing in freezing temperatures.
Always make sure your cell phone is charged. It’s also a great idea to keep a charger in your car just in case.
Keep an inexpensive box of kitty litter in your trunk. Not only will it add weight to your car (which is good when you are dealing with slick roads), you can also use it for traction if you find that your car is stuck in snow or mud.
These are just a few of the tips off the top of my head. I’m sure I’ll think of more.
I have a special Winter Emergency Kit to give to a lucky reader, compliments of ICA and WaterSavers. The prize contains the following must have essentials.
- 32 oz. WaterSavers branded water bottle
- Carabiner key chain
- Medium flashlight
- 2 heavy duty AA batteries
- 19-piece first aid kit
- Survival tool
- Pocket knife
- Emergency poncho
- Emergency blanket
- 2 tea light candles
- Safety matches
- Survival instruction card
- Mesh sack
This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on November 23, 2012 at 12:01 AM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
To enter please leave a comment on this post and share with my some other great tips you might have on staying safe (and warm!) during the winter months. If you do not live in an area where you have to worry about Winter feel free to comment on any other driving tip or survival tip you might have.
For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.
*I received a sample kit in exchange for my participation. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced in any way.