As I sit here looking at the 5 plus inches of snow out the window, I wanted to share the winter car prep and kit ideas.
As we discussed in the previous blog, first you need to have the basics covered. Then build from there, so for the sake of this blog we are assuming you have already read the basic one. While the winter kit will help you in emergencies, winter preparations for your car will help prevent you from possible car damage.
Car service, have your car winterized. Get a tune up, fluids checked, making sure you use cold weather additives. Making sure your anti-freeze is good to well below your areas temperature normals. In my area we use -40 degrees fahrenheit. It has been colder with wind chill but only a few times that I can remember. I also recomend de-icer washer fluid. I also suggest gas treatment to make sure your injectors are clean, your octane is boosted and moisture is removed. Tires: have good tread on your tires and be sure to check your tire pressure. Years ago I can remember people changing the type of tire depending on the season, but making sure your not running on low treads or no treads is a must even if you don't switch to snow ones for the season.
So now we have the car taken care of lets look more into a winter kit. I have seen kits that range from a few items that will just make you more comfortable to full on survival kits. The thing here is to determine what is right for the area you're going to be in. If you mainly travel in the city the odds of you being stranded over night or many nights awaiting rescue are more remote than say someone who travels coast to coast or long rural routes.
Barring a wreck or other accident that damages your car it provides a decent barrier between you and the elements. If your car still runs, that’s even better because you have heat. While a lot has been written about running your car and carbon monoxide poisoning, here we are hoping you know enough to keep proper ventilation and to make sure your exhaust is not covered so the dangerous fumes move away from you. If you are unsure or think you may have an exhaust leak “Don’t run the engine”.
Staying warm. I always pack a blanket and sleeping bag in the car year round but in winter I add an extra heavy blanket. Here I would recommend wool. It stays warm even when wet, but some people won’t use it “too itchy” so in this case it’s better to have something you will use. Extra clothes: keeping a change of clothes year round is a good idea. Gloves and a sock or knit hat, scarf, extra socks, boots. Other items I carry in the passenger area are food (nuts, jerky, granola trail mix or dried fruit) and water. Water will freeze but if you use the heavier juice bottles (washed and cleaned) and only fill the bottle ⅔ full when it freezes it typically will not bust. Placing in a large gallon ziplock will help if it does. I have 2 frozen solid in my car now with no leak problems.
In the trunk: Kitty litter- get a bag. The weight helps and it’s great to pour out for added traction. Small shovel, I got a three piece one that collapses down. Remember with this you want a good scoop to move snow with your more than likely not digging a trench.
This is just a basic winter list and not a full on survival kit. If you have the items and have done the car basic list, as well as this one you should be prepared for the basics. One other thing I recommend and do myself is pack a “get home bag” or bug out bag with me daily.
We will get to the bug out bag/get home bag list soon, also we will be having that class again this summer.
Stay Safe out there.