Although the snow from the recent storm has melted away, winter still has about two months left, meaning two more months of possible car troubles. To be prepared for just about anything that winter could bring, here’s a list of things you should keep in your car during the winter months.
- Ice scraper and brush
This one may seem fairly obvious, but having an ice scraper in your car makes it much easier to remove snow and ice from your windows before you drive. While your car has windshield wipers, they can become frozen to your windshield and may not work. Scraping ice and snow away also takes less time than letting your defroster do all the work.
- Jumper cables
Although these should be in your car at all times, they’re especially important during the winter. During the winter months, car batteries tend to die a lot easier than normal. Jumper cables allow you to partially recharge your battery using another car’s battery. After jumping your car, make sure to drive it around a little while before turning it off so that the battery has enough charge to continue working.
- Flashlight and extra batteries
While many of us use our phone as a flashlight, it’s a good idea to keep a real one on hand along with extra batteries, just in case your phone is dead.
- Hand warmers
With a dead battery, your car’s heating system won’t work. Hand warmers will keep your fingers warm while you wait for a jump or tow truck.
- A blanket
Keeping a blanket in your car is another way to ensure you’re kept warm if your car is dead.
- Extra winter clothes
This includes gloves, socks, a hat and possibly a second coat. If your battery is dead and you go out to fix it, you may end up with wet gloves and socks in the cold, which opens you up to hypothermia. This can also come in handy if you forget to bring gloves or a hat on a cold day.
- First aid kit
This is another item that should be in your car at all times, not just winter. If you or someone around you gets hurt, you’ll be able to help at least a little bit. Many first aid kits come with pain killers as well, which can be helpful at other times.
- Non-perishable snacks and water
It’s important to have some kind of food, like energy bars, as well as water, in case you get stopped on the side of the road without power for a while.
- Phone charger and portable battery
Most of us try to keep our phones fully charged, but it can die quickly if you don’t have cell service or are using data. Having a phone charger and fully charged portable battery can be a life saver if your phone suddenly dies and you need to call someone.
- Cat litter
Ice makes it really hard for your tires to get traction, but a small bag of cat litter can solve the problem! If you’re having trouble getting out of a slick spot, just sprinkle some cat litter around your tires and you should be able to get enough traction to get moving.
- Portable air compressor and pressure gauge
Just like car batteries, car tires tend to get low in cold temperatures. Driving around with low tire pressure can cause your tires to wear down faster and in the wrong way. This can lead to overheating and blowouts, which are no fun. Having a portable air compressor and pressure gauge can help you keep your tires at the correct pressure.