I may not be ready for the snow, ice and cold days.... but my car will be! This is your reminder to winterize your car before the temperature drops...
1. Check your tire pressure....Low tires can cause disaster.. Also, check the tire tread. If they are balding, get them replaced!
2. Check your fluids...Fill the washer fluid, check the viscosity and amount of antifreeze, and check or change the oil.
3. Inspect your windshield wipers... With the recent drought, they didn't get much use and might actually be damaged... Make sure they are working properly!
4. Learn how to change a spare tire!
5. Have your car serviced and fully checked. If you're like me, you don't know all the specifics of a car, so have a professional check your car out thoroughly. They can check your belts, battery, filters, and so on.
6. Fill your gas tank. My dad taught us to consider your tank's "half" mark as empty during the winter... Never let it drop below a half tank during the winter months!!
7. Make the emergency kit! (and know how to use everything in it!) My family keeps the smaller items in a large coffee can. That way, the can is able to be heated over the candle to make drinking water if needed.
- A flashlight, batteries, flares and a first-aid kit
- Jumper cables
- A blanket, warm clothes (extra pairs of socks are a must) and gloves
- A bag of abrasive material, such as sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter. Use this for added traction when a tire is stuck.
- Paper towels (a great item to clean snow-caked headlights)
- A snow brush, ice scraper and snow shovel
- Extra washer fluid
- Extra food and water that will stay good for a long period of time. Also, include hard candies to keep your mouth moist. You might also consider adding packets of hot chocolate.
- Candle (jar candles are great) and matches -- used to keep warm if needed
- A bright article of clothing or rag to bring attention to yourself if stranded (especially if you go off the road)
- Cell phone charger for the car
Know what to do if you DO get stranded:
- Stay with your vehicle. Emergency crews can find your car a lot easier than they can find you alone. You will more easily avoid frostbite and hypothermia by staying in the car and out of the snow and wind.
- Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna.
- Avoid exposure to the cold and overexertion when attempting to push the car or shovel heavy snowdrifts.
- Keep the doors unlocked.
- If the locks are frozen and you need to get inside, heat your key with a lighter.
- Turn your hazard lights ON.
- If there are two or more people in the car, never sleep at the same time. You may miss an opportunity to be rescued.
Please... keep you and your family safe... It's something we hate to think about, but being stranded is always a possibility. Checking and preparing your car only takes a few minutes and can save a life!