Winter road trips are completely different from travel in any other season. These cold roads can be very challenging for drivers, and there is the added danger of being stuck in a snowstorm. As most auto collision repair school students know, winter roads increase accidents and can harm your car’s paint job, especially for unprepared travelers. The last thing you want is for your car to stop working when you are in the cold and far from home. Here are a few things you need to take care of before heading out on your journey:
- Get Your Battery Checked
Batteries lose power as temperatures drop close to freezing. Batteries may lose as much as 60% of their charge at zero degrees. When you are traveling in cold weather, the last thing you want is to be stranded because of a dead battery. If your battery is more than two years old, you should consider replacing it.
- Get Jumper Cables
If your battery runs low before you have a chance to replace it, you will need jumper cables. These are tools you should have in any season, but in extremely cold weather, they are incredibly important. In some cases, it may be someone else who needs to be jumped. In that case, you will be prepared to help out a fellow motorist.
- Pack Tools for the Snow and Ice
Be prepared with a scraper and a shovel stored in your car. Scraping ice off a car is an annoying chore, but a necessary one to make sure you can see where you’re going. Heated scrapers are available that plug into your cigarette lighter and make the task of scraping ice faster and easier. Other than ice on your windshield, one of the big dangers when traveling in frosty conditions is the possibility of getting stuck in snow. A folding snow shovel is easy to store and very useful for getting your vehicle out of sticky situations.
- Check Your Coolant
Coolant/antifreeze can keep your engine’s fluids from freezing and makes sure that your vehicle will be able to start when you need it to. Coolant not only keeps your vehicle from freezing up, it protects your engine from rust and corrosion better than plain water. Contrary to what many people believe, not all coolant is toxic. Coolants that are made with propylene glycol are just as effective as the toxic ethylene glycol type, but are less harmful if consumed by animals or children.
- Protect Your Finish
It’s easy to neglect a car’s finish in winter. However, protecting the body of your car is more important in the cold season than at any other time of year. Why? Road salt for one thing. Road salt can cause corrosion to your finish and other parts of the vehicle. One small crack or chip in your paint can allow rust to form. Products are available to help protect your vehicle’s exterior from both road salt and from snow. They range from sealants to touch-up paint that will match your vehicle’s finish.