When it comes to winter, we want to get to our destination without mishaps. The best way to weather the cold and snowy days is to prepare the vehicle for safe winter driving. Here we’ll review a number of ways in which you can prepare for the potential mishaps of winter driving as well as things which make winter driving more pleasurable.
Garage Storage Solutions for Winter Driving
We should start that preparedness right at home. If you’ve had a garage renovation specialist plan out your storage space for you, you’ll have a space specifically designed to place your shovels, snow blower and road salt conveniently near the garage door where it is easily accessible.
In addition, a typical slatwall organization system would offer a place to store car or vehicle accessories such as winter grade antifreeze, winter / summer windshield wiper blades, fuel line antifreeze, WD40 and more. And, of course, a storage solution to store the change of winter or all-season tires. Tires can be stored on specialty tire rack or overhead platform which can easily handle 400 – 800 lbs worth of garage items when they have been installed properly into the walls and ceiling of a garage.
A Healthy Battery for a Dependable Start
Next, if your vehicle battery is on the older side, you might want to get it tested and make sure it is holding a strong charge. Batteries without enough CCA or cold cranking amps will not be able to turn over the engine on colder days. In the summer, a battery does not need to provide the same amount of charge to the system to start the vehicle but colder temperatures will require that higher CCA which the engine will need.
If your battery is older and may not be carrying the original CCA value, it may be time to replace this battery before that cold day of winter comes along. One thing to note is that some of the newer vehicles require the battery to run the vehicle’s computer so when the battery dies or needs to be replaced, it can affect the computer in the vehicle. Having a service professional help you out with the battery replacement should avoid any potential computer issues.
Install Winter Tires
What makes the winter tires so different from all-season tires is the rubber with which each tire is made. All season tires are made of a rubber which starts to freeze at a higher temperature than winter tires. Winter tires are made of a softer rubber and will maintain its malleability and ability to grip the road reliably even at colder temperatures.
To keep your family safe when driving everyone to school or work, install winter tires to keep your vehicle road worthy even on cold snowy days.
Winter Survival Kit
For longer trips and more rural locales, driving any distance where it may be difficult to find help quickly in case of an accident or getting stuck at the side of the road, it’s important to have a survival kit to be able to help yourself out of a situation or to be able to wait for help to arrive.
Here’s what should be part of the winter survival kit of your vehicle:
- Emergency kit containing non-perishable food, blankets and first aid supplies
- Windshield scraper and snow brush
- Extra windshield washer fluid
- Spare tire, wheel wrench and jack
- Shovel and traction mat, sand or kitty litter
- Fuel line antifreeze
- Flares and matches or lighter
- Tire chains and gloves
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Battery jumper cables
- Extra clothing and footwear
- Sandbags for extra weight
Use Winter Windshield Washer
Windshield washer fluid for winter typically has a lower freezing mark and a few more cleaning features than the typical summer washer fluid. This helps make sure the vehicle’s windshield will maintain a clear and visible line of sight to the road and surroundings so drivers can drive safely navigate their vehicle on a snowy winter day. Switch to the winter windshield washer fluid for an improved winter drive.
Winter-Grade Engine Oil
Engine oils have a variety of viscosity. While some vehicles can operate well with a lower viscosity engine oil in the summer, the colder weather of winter means a lower viscosity oil may not be effective. It’s advisable to get a maintenance service of the vehicle before winter or at least, an oil change so that the correct engine oil is applied to your vehicle for the winter months.
Cell Phone Charging Kit
Almost all of us have a mobile phone. It’s also one of our most valuable tools for getting help when we’re having trouble. Once you have a good battery in the vehicle with a solid charge, you can use it to keep your cell phone operating to make calls or to be found by emergency search crews. If you don’t already have a cell phone charging kit in your vehicle, get one today. It will come in handy for a wide variety of emergencies including getting stuck during a heavy winter storm.
Top Up the Gas Tank
Throughout the year, it’s a good idea to always top up the gas tank when the needle hits the last quarter tank of gas so that you can maintain the engine’s lubrication. In the winter, it may be wise to top up the gas tank when the needle tips just below the half way mark. Winter storms can sometimes double or triple our travel time home. It means that we use much more gas for the same commute home or to work. Be sure to either have extra gas in a jerrycan inside the garage or keep the gas tank topped up above the half tank mark. You’ll be sure to make it home or to work without fear of running out of fuel.
Many vehicles come with heated seats but a heating pad for the seat can be purchased at your local hardware store. For the longer drives home, a warm seat will keep your back from freezing up after sitting for long hours at the wheel in cold weather. It’s practical but it can also make the drive much more pleasant too, especially when the winter commutes tend to be longer and slower.
Preparing & Storing Accessories for Winter Driving
When it comes to being prepared, it also means we’ll need to store a few extra things in our garage to remain prepared. An organized and well-planned garage storage solution helps us plan for driving our vehicles throughout all four seasons of the year.
If you need help being prepared, contact one of our garage renovation specialists and we can plan a garage storage system which will meet not only the winter driving challenges but a wide variety of family lifestyle needs for the garage. And, whatever you do, drive safely this winter.