You've got the bags packed and the route all planned out. But is your car ready for a winter road trip? Slick roads and limited visibility due to snow or sleet can make winter driving a challenge. Here are five tips from Autotrader to make sure your car is ready for a safe winter journey.
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1. Pack a winter survival car kit.
In case of emergency, it's a good idea to store a winter survival kit in your vehicle. Buy a prepackaged emergency kit, or create one of your own. Include a blanket, a first-aid kit, a knife, a flashlight, jumper cables, a snow scraper, and a smart phone charger that charges in your car's outlet. As an extra precaution, I recommend bringing along a pre-charged mobile device charger. Autotrader also suggests keeping a shovel in your vehicle's trunk and to keep a de-icer spray handy, so you can easily access the engine or trunk in case they're frozen shut.
2. Check tire pressure.
Before setting out on your winter road trip, be sure to check tire pressure. According to Autotrader, “This is because tire pressure can drop along with the air temperature, losing up to one pound per square inch with every 10-degree drop in air temperature. Driving around with low tire pressure could mean premature tire wear or potential tread separation, which could lead to a major accident. Also, your car handles less predictably with under-inflated tires.” If you find that one or more of your tires is low on air, stop at a gas station to fill them at the air pump.
3. Fill ‘er up with gas.
Of course you need gasoline to reach your winter road trip destination, but there are other reasons to keep your gas tank full. “A full tank may prevent accumulated water from freezing inside your fuel pump and can help you stay warm by allowing the engine to stay running in case you get stuck,” says Autotrader. Besides, running out of gas in the chill of winter will do nothing to add cheer to your trek.
4. Top off washer fluid.
Topping off windshield washer fluid may not top your list of things to do before setting off on your winter road trip, but maybe it should. Muddy, salty roads from snow storms can kick up a lot of filth onto your windshield. Then you'll need to use up a lot of washer fluid so you can find your way to the slopes for skiing or to grandma's house for the holidays.
5. Test your car's battery before your winter road trip.
Take your car to the dealership or local mechanic for a simple battery volt test to make sure it's up for the journey. If the battery is weak, replace it right away to avoid being stranded in the cold. Autotrader explains, “It's often more difficult for a battery to operate in cold weather than it is for a battery to operate in warm weather. As a result, a battery that's merely weak during the summer could turn into a dead battery during the winter.”
For additional tips on making sure your car is ready for a winter road trip, read these tips from Autotrader. The mission at Autotrader is to be your ultimate online solution for buying and selling new, certified and used cars. Check out their selection of cars now!
Do you have any winter road trip tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!
A Note from The Travel Mama: This is a compensated campaign. All opinions are mine, as always. This story includes affiliate links.