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Your Winter Car Disaster Kit

You probably don’t need anyone to tell you, winter is here. This time of year can be dangerous, so it is a good idea to add a few extra items to your emergency kit.

  • Rock salt or something similar should be kept on hand to melt icy walkways and prevent falls.
  • Keep cat litter or sand in your vehicle to aid with traction if you get stuck.
  • Keep a shovel and ice scraper in your vehicle.
  • Keep extra clothing and blanket in your vehicle.
  • Be sure you add a tow rope, jumper cables and emergency flares to your vehicle roadside kit.

FEMA recommends that you check these things on your car:

  1. Ensure antifreeze levels are sufficient to avoid freezing.
  2. Be sure your battery and ignition system is in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
  3. Check brakes for wear and fluid levels.
  4. Check your exhaust system for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary.
  5. Replace your fuel and air filters and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
  6. Ensure your heater and defroster work properly.
  7. Check to be sure all lights, including hazard lights, are working properly.
  8. Check your vehicle’s oil level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
  9. Ensure your thermostat works properly.
  10. Ensure your windshield wiper equipment works properly and maintain proper washer fluid level. Consider using a washer fluid that is also a deicer.
  11. Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some areas require chains or snow tires with studs.

Most of these things may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t think of them until it is too late. Make sure your car is ready for a winter emergency and feel safer this winter. Get a car disaster kit for each vehicle you own.

Remember, if the weather is bad, it is better to stay home than risk a disaster while traveling.

photo credit: Metal Cowboy via photopin cc

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