Stocking Your Car for Winter

Winter is here, so let’s assume that you already have your ice scraper packed up and ready to use. But there are a lot of other things that could help you out, whether you’re driving to work and back or to another state for the holidays. Here are a few items that you should keep in your car during the winter.

Getting Unstuck

The best way to avoid getting stuck somewhere is packing things that can give you traction. Using sand, kitty litter, or a small carpet remnant might give your spinning wheels the traction they need. A snow shovel is great to have, and even if you drive a smaller car, small snow shovels are available.

Rolling Along

If one of your tires goes flat, then you should have the things you need to get moving again. A can of fix-a-flat, a pressure gauge, a jack and tire iron, good spare tire are things that you should always have in your car, not only in winter. When the ground isn’t covered in snow, you should put yourself through a test run and try to change a tire. If you can’t do it when there isn’t snow on the ground, you’ll be in a bind when trying to change a flat in freezing temperatures.

Fighting Hunger

You know those commercials that show people acting crazy before they eat a chocolate bar? It’s true. When you’re hungry, you have a harder time thinking and functioning. So it’s important that you have something to eat and drink. Carrying a pack of bottled water is a good idea. For food, however, you’ll want more than a chocolate bar. You could keep energy bars or granola bars. Another good option is MREs, the kind that heat up with water.

Keeping Warm

Hopefully you won’t get stranded in the cold, but wishful thinking is the worst preparation. Just in case, you should store a blanket or two in your car. It’s also a good idea to have extra clothes, even an entire change of clothes in case yours get wet. It’s dangerous to start a fire of any kind in your car, but in a pinch, having a candle and matches could provide the emergency heat that you need.

Preparing for Car Trouble

It’s nice when you can just call a mechanic or roadside service. But when you’re out in the snow and your car is on the fritz, you might not have that option. You should keep anti-freeze, engine oil, and power steering fluid on hand, and know where to fill each one. Most importantly, have jumper cables. Even if someone stops to help, if neither of you have jumper cables, it will not help. You absolutely cannot MacGyver some out of chewing gum wrappers and paper clips.

For more tips about winter preparedness, check out what the National Weather Service has to say.

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