When I was growing up, we weren’t able to make sure the car was working in the best condition possible. It just wasn’t in the cards for us. So, we had to Macgyver our own way of doing things. Our car hated the winter, it was from Vegas, like us, so we understood it’s misery. So, my dad would disconnect the battery every night, wrap it in a blanket and carry it inside to stay warm. In the frigid mornings he would go out, plug it back in and away he went. It’s frightening to have to do that with a car and hope it doesn’t freeze up while your at work and now you can’t get home. No one should have to do this with their car if they can help it. If you’re not sure how to prep for the upcoming snow or just plain dreading the commute, take a breath, let’s cover some simple pro tips to help set your mind at ease.
It sounds silly, but having an emergency box in your car could actually ease some stress. It doesn’t have to be a lot and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. The box doesn’t have to be big and it doesn’t have to be imagined like a doomsday prep box. This is your personal supply of ‘oh sh*t I got stuck in the snow and the tow truck is going to take a while to get to me and now I’m hungry and cold’ box. What kinds of things should you put in there?
- A small blanket
- Flash Light
- First Aid Kit (I recommend carrying this at all times in the back of your car)
- An extra pair of gloves
- Kitty Litter/Sand/Rock Salt for icy situations
- Small Shovel and Ice Scraper
- Tow Straps
- Jumper Cables
With these in hand, you should feel your nervousness slip away a little bit. Being prepared for the difficult situations can change your whole attitude. Relax your shoulders. It’s going to be okay.
The Technical Side
The emergency box is a good thing to have, but it’s even better to not have to use it during the winter. A preventative measure that can be taken is to make sure your car is aware that it’s winter time and some adjustments may need to be made. It could be worth taking your car to the mechanic to do a once over to make sure things are in tip-top shape. Some essential things you’ll want to be looked over:
- Tires <– Click the link to help you make the decision
- Windshield Wipers and winter fluid so it doesn’t freeze to your windshield
- Fluids in the car are filled and working properly, especially engine coolant and antifreeze
- Battery Check
- Make sure the heater works
Of course, you can do the once over yourself, if you feel informed enough about any of these processes. Although, it never hurts to have a professional take a look. Having a car that runs well and is reliable during the winter is absolutely key. Take a look at our current Service Specials to see what we can help you with this winter.
Last Minute Tips
When I lived in Minnesota and Michigan, I worried that the winters would be worse than in New England (they are). I asked locals what to do about the car during the winter, since the temperatures are a little more extreme. Here are some tips they gave me:
- Keep the windshield wipers up when the car is parked overnight or for long periods of time. It helps later when you’re trying to scrape the snow off your car. It also helps keep them from freezing to the windshield.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full when you the temperature is going to drop significantly. Keep at least more than a quarter tank of gas each night. Sometimes gas can freeze in the tank if there isn’t enough in there.
- Put Ziploc bags over your mirrors. It will help prevent icing and save you time in the morning from having to scrape the ice off.
Driving in the winter can be a bit scary, but hopefully these tips will help set your mind at ease. Remember to take care of your car before things get bad. Take it slow and easy, you’ll get where you need to be this winter.