10 Winter Tips for 1st Time Car Owners
I recently had to have a conversation with a teenage driver who just bought her own car. She complained that it took almost an hour to get into her car, warm it up, and actually get off the street she lives on! I had to laugh and shake my head at the time; but later, I considered that all the “tricks” I do automatically when I know bad weather is coming were things I had to be taught. So here are the top tips I shared with the first time car owner.
- Be prepared! Snow and ice rarely surprises today’s weather forecasters. Listen to the forecast in advance so you can be ready, not only for when you need to leave the house but what it will be like on your way home.
- Keep your gas tank filled when they call for bad weather, for several reasons.
- In case you get stranded, you’ll need the extra gasoline to stay warm until help arrives
- A full gas tank makes your car heavier, so you will get better traction when driving on the snow and ice
- Pack a winter emergency kit and keep it in the back seat.
- By keeping it in the back seat, you can easily reach it without risking further injury by slipping and falling; or being unable to get to your trunk
- Keep a blanket, hand warmers, candy or protein bars, power drinks or a bottle of water in the bag
- Extend the wiper arms away from the windshield before the storm hits; it’ll make it easier to clean your windshield once you’re ready to drive.
- Keep your windshield wiper fluid topped off. This will ensure you can keep your windshield clean before and during a storm.
- If your car door gets iced over:
- Attempt to get in through another door
- NEVER pour hot water onto the frozen door; chances are you’ll shatter the window. Instead use cool water and slowly poor over the door frame before attempting to open the door
- To prevent this from happening, spray cooking spray or Vaseline on a rag and rub it over the rubber gasket/seal of the door. Note: this only helps before hand! 🙂
- Buy a snow & ice scraper with a long or telescoping handle. There’s nothing worse than having to get cold and wet because you had to lean against the snowy car to reach a spot!
- Let your car’s engine warm up before you start driving; start it first and set the defrost, then by the time you’re done scraping, your car is as “warmed up” as it needs to be before driving.
- Consider keeping bags of cat litter or sand in the trunk; both of these provide extra weight as well as help you get more traction in case you are stuck. Sprinkle in front of and behind your tires if needed.
- Keep your vehicle maintained year round. Check the battery, get the oil changed, have your tire pressure checked, keep the tires with the best tread on the front of the vehicle, etc. All these things not only protect your car through the year, but help keep your car ready for the bad weather.