By Chris Dato • December 02, 2014
There are a lot of great things that come with the cold weather of winter. Layering up as the temperature drops, pulling out the snowboarding gear, family time by the fire, and gingerbread flavored everything. However, the cool down also means treacherous road conditions and inclement weather that can wreak havoc on your car if the two of you are not prepared. Here are a few tips to avoid getting stuck out in the cold this winter.
Outside the Car
One of the first things you want to do to assure your vehicle is winter ready is to check the tread on your tires. To do this, all you will need is some spare change. Grab a penny and a quarter, and head to the first tire you are going to check. Insert the quarter into the tread of the tire, with Washington’s head upside down and facing toward you. If the tread reaches to the top of the first president’s head, you have at least 4/32” left which is considered safe for winter conditions according to Goodyear Tires. If your tread does not pass the quarter test, remove it and insert the penny into the tread in the same orientation. If the tread does not obstruct Lincoln’s face, than it is less that 2/32” deep and it is definitely time to replace them. If that is the case, check out this exclusive promotion we have with TireBuyer for $30 off any set of 4 winter tires, plus free shipping. If you don’t have any change, you can also check the status of your tire’s treads using the wear indicator bars that can be found inside the groove of the tread. When these perpendicular rubber indicators become flush with the tread, it is time for new tires.
Inside the Car
Your car goes with you almost everywhere you go, so use that to your advantage. Make sure you have some basic necessity accessories with you at all times, in case you find yourself in need far away from home. For instance, no matter what season it is, you need to invest in a travel charger for your cell phone to keep in your glove box or center console. It is impossible to list the number of ways having emergency power for your phone can help save the day. It is also a good idea to have backups handy for some of the devices our phones have come to replace, such as a flashlight, notepad, and GPS. Also, consider keeping a small first aid kit in the car. Keep it small enough to store conveniently, and stock it with basics like antiseptic, Neosporin, a few bandages, and some ibuprofen. Keeping these things within arms reach while you are on the road can make all the difference.
Inside the Trunk
The trunk of your vehicle will be your one-stop shop in the case of a roadside emergency, so make sure it is stocked accordingly. There are a few basic supplies you should have to deal with year-round common car issues, such as a gallon of antifreeze, jumper cables, and a towrope. Just a basic pack, like this Travel Roadside Tool Kit from Walmart, could make a world of difference. Because of the added hazards of winter, have the tools you will need to deal with bad weather and poor road conditions like kitty litter, a small shovel, and snow chains and tensioners for your tires.
It is also a good idea to prepare for the worst, such as actually getting stranded by the elements in your car. Have a blanket and pillow handy to make the inside of the car a little more comfortable, and keep a supply of water in the trunk, as well as some snacks like granola bars or nuts.
In Southern California it is almost hard to imagine getting stranded by bad weather, but it is a very real possibility in most parts of the country. Using these travel tips, you will be ready for whatever winter has in store for you and your car. With the decline in gas prices across the nation, why not use Christmas vacation to enjoy some quality family time on the road that would make the Griswolds proud?
Chris Dato A Southern California kid born and raised, Chris is happiest with sunglasses on his face and sand under his back. Although a self-proclaimed master money saver, he prefers the term 'responsibly frugal' to 'cheap.'