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Snow Bogged: Make Sure Your Car Survives the Winter

by Wendy Taube

Although we all may wish it was 72 degrees and sunny every day, unfortunately the harsh reality of winter comes around each year and reminds us that we need to prepare for colder weather. When we think of getting ready for the cold winter days ahead we often consider our winter jackets and gloves, flannel sheets, and firewood, but we also need to think about preparing our vehicles.

Never-Ending Rush Hour

According to MSNBC.com, November through March is actually one of the busiest times to travel on U.S. roads. Folks from colder states are all headed to a warmer climate, winter sports lovers are driving to their favorite cold weather playgrounds, and holiday travelers load their cars to visit friends and family. This, combined with dropping temperatures and icy conditions, can create a challenging road trip for anyone.

5 Ways to Winter Proof Your Vehicle

  • Safety Inspection – Have a safety inspection performed on your vehicle. Ensure that your brakes, lights, tires, windshield wipers and fluid are checked and ready to go for the upcoming colder months.
  • Fill Your Gas Tank – It is important to keep your gas tank as full as possible in the winter months. This will help minimize condensation and you will be prepared in case there is trouble while traveling.
  • Tires – Invest in a good set of winter tires to ensure your vehicle is properly equipped for winter driving conditions. Top brands like new Goodyear tires feature tread that is specially designed to connect with extreme weather surfaces for maximum traction on ice.
  • Winterize Your Vehicle – Cold weather driving requires a strong battery, heavyweight oil that can withstand cold weather, fresh antifreeze, and an exhaust and fuel system that is in proper working condition.
  • Winter Survival Kit – It is a good idea to have your vehicle equipped with a winter survival kit with some important items that can come in handy in case of a break down or other emergency. Include a first aid kit, flashlight and extra batteries, blankets, small bag of sand for gaining traction under your tires, brightly colored material for use as a flag, bottled water, non-perishable food items, a small shovel, and a tool kit.

Illinois State Police offers a few suggestions for safe travel during the winter months and recommends these tips for travel during winter snow storms:

Safe Driving Tips for Winter Travel

  • Choose primary routes that have more traffic to avoid super slick roadways
  • Let others know your travel plans and route so officials will know where to search in an emergency
  • Always pay close attention to weather reports on your car radio
  • Do not travel alone
  • Drive with care and watch for slick ice patches, especially on bridges and overpasses
  • Don’t hesitate to seek shelter if the weather is too severe
  • If you experience car trouble, stay with the vehicle and run your engine with the heater on for short periods of time. Also be sure to leave a window open a tiny bit to avoid toxic carbon monoxide levels in the car.

Each winter, you should make sure that your vehicle is in tip top shape for the upcoming weather conditions. Having dependable and reliable transportation is crucial when you live in or will be visiting areas that have harsh winter weather. Following a few tips from experts about how to prepare your vehicle can really help you survive cold weather cruising.

About the Author:
Wendy Taube is a finance guru who writes and edits when she has a free moment or two from her growing family.

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