As the weather gets colder it becomes even more important to have some kind of roadside emergency kit in your vehicle. Breaking down on the side of the road in the middle of the night in July is an inconvenience. But when your vehicle breaks down and it's freezing outside, you're SOL unless you've got a back up plan.
Here are 5 Vehicle Prepping Tips for Cold Weather
Make Sure You're Using Antifreeze
In the summer months it's common for people to just add water to their vehicle. This is fine in warm weather, but once it gets cold, that water will freeze. And if you don't have antifreeze mixed in with your water, your engine will be in a world of hurt once that water turns into ice.
Check Your Battery
A dying battery might still work when the weather is warmer but it will crap out once it gets cold. According to Warranty Wise you should be changing your battery every 3 years.
Tips to increase your battery's lifespan:
- Service your car frequently to prevent an inefficient engine and other vehicle components from straining the battery.
- Never leave your lights or air conditioning on while your vehicle is switched off, as they’ll drain the battery.
- Drive your car frequently (at least once every week) to prevent the battery from becoming too drained.
- Check your battery after you’ve driven off road or on a bumpy road, as the impacts can loosen its connections.
- Make sure your car battery’s terminals and casings are kept clean and free of dirt, dust and grit.
Make Sure You Have Jumper Cables
If your car won't start in the summer, you can often thrown it in neutral, coast until you build up speed, and then dump your clutch. This jump starting method won't work on icy roads though because your tires will just lock up.
Make sure you've got jumper cables for yourself and fellow travelers who may need a boost.
Can You Handle Sleeping In Your Vehicle?
For those of you who live where it gets cold, this question is for you. If you're off the beaten path and your car breaks down, do you have enough warm clothing and gear to be able to spend the night in your vehicle?
I carry a Mummy sleeping bag in my truck for this reason. If you work in an office, make sure your vehicle is stocked with warm clothes and boots just in case.
Add Toe Ropes
Anyone who grew up in snow knows how much of a pain in the butt it is to get out of a ditch once you slide in. Even if the ditch is shallow, you're going to have a tough time getting out if the roads are slick. Make sure you've got a toe rope in your emergency road kit.
You should always be ready to fix a flat, deal with the cold, see in the dark, jump a battery and be able to flag down help if you're stranded in your car. Make sure you can do all of these when you're doing your winter vehicle prep.