Snow and Your Car

Matthew Keegan

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Welcome to Winter! Snow, ice, and cold can be especially challenging to the body and mind, as well as to important items in your life, including your car. Is your vehicle ready for winter? If not, there are some things you can do to help ensure that your car will start on cold mornings and survive even the nastiest winter weather.

Check under the hood. Make sure that your battery and all of its connections are clean and fastened; hoses and belts securely in place; your oil and oil filter changes up to date; your air filter clean; the 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, do it now before you take that long trip.

Look at the windshield. Besides obvious cracks in your windshield which you can have replaced, make certain that the wiper bay is free of debris. Ice and snow can freeze your wipers in place making them completely ineffective. Never pour hot water on a windshield to remove ice. You will remove ice all right…and crack the glass in the process!

Observe the tires. Properly inflated all season tires are usually all that you need for winter driving. In some areas, however, chains may be required. Keep a set in your trunk for emergency purposes.

Carry an emergency kit. It doesn’t take much to get stranded during winter. Even the best maintained vehicle can get caught in a snow bank or stuck in a ditch. Carrying a fully charged cell phone for emergency purposes is essential when driving anywhere uninhabited. The following items should be a part of an emergency kit you have stored in your vehicle at all times:

*Flash light with spare batteries

*Jumper cables

*Tire chains

*Ice scraper/brush

*Sand or kitty litter for traction

*Auto tools

*Wire coat hanger


*Candles, matches

*Distress sign

*Medical kit

*Gas line antifreeze; ice lock antifreeze spray

If you frequently travel back roads and find yourself in remote areas, carrying an extra set of hats, gloves, and coats as well as several blankets is wise. Some people carry chocolate with them at all times which can be a great [and delicious!] energy booster as well as fresh water [don’t leave it in the car as it will get frozen].

If you find yourself stuck in snow, make sure that the exhaust pipe is free of all snow if you run your car while idled. Keep a window cracked open to allow for air to circulate; turn the engine off every ten minutes for a half hour or more to prevent carbon monoxide build up inside of the car.

You can survive the hazards of winter by taking a little extra care and caution. Properly equip your car today to ensure that your next trip is a safe one regardless of the prevailing road and weather conditions.

Copyright 2006 - Matt Keegan is a contributing writer for the Auto Parts Warehouse {APW}. At APW, we encourage drivers to properly prepare their cars for winter by keeping your grille free of snow and ice; ensuring that your car fog lights are working; and your cargo liner hasn’t been cracked by ice.


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