Winterizing on the Cheap

February 19, 2018

While we pride ourselves on trying to keep your wallet as fast as we can, sometimes we find that our readers will have to put a little bit of cash out. However, as always, we’re here to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck. Winterizing your car is not only a good way to save in case of a snowy emergency, but it might get you out of a tight spot that lets you go home in your car instead of a taxi.

Under the Hood

Let’s start by looking under the hood. It’s harder for vehicles to crank in cold weather than it is in warmer weather unless you have a block heater. We aren’t necessarily encouraging you to go out and buy one of those if you live in a place that doesn’t typically need them, but if you live where the temperatures stay in the teens it may be worth looking into.

Check your battery terminals. If they’re corroded, disconnect the battery and scrub both the plugs and the connectors with a stiff wire brush. There are a number of battery terminal cleaner sprays on the market as well that will help get the really nasty terminals clean.

A fluid check is never amiss before you leave home, but be certain that your oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid and power steering fluid are completely topped off all winter. Due to road salt, lines that run beneath your car can suffer pretty quick damage if they’re already fraying. This could cause catastrophic failure while you’re driving. Your first hint that something is wrong could be a fluid leak.

Beneath Your Seat

The under workings of your vehicle may not be the easiest things to access, but they have wear and tear just like what’s under your hood. We mentioned it before but if you have a consistent leak, take your car in to make certain that nothing is starting to come apart at the seams.

In addition to this, a mechanic (or you) can look at cv joints, tierod ends and all of the places where your car is actually welded and bolted together to make certain nothing needs to be replaced before you’re driving through the ice.

Interior Considerations

While we advise that you carry a first aid kit, water, extra vehicle fluids, and all the things to change a spare tire, there are some additional objects we consider worthwhile to add to your typical car kit.

Just in case you get stuck in the snow and you aren’t able to get out until morning, blankets and pocket/handwarmers can be the difference between a cozy night’s sleep in your car and shivering your pants off. A bag of kitty litter and a small, short shovel for digging out of small drifts may help as well. Lastly, a second set of clothes or a heavy jacket that will fit on top of your day to day clothing can help insulate your body temperature as well.

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