Winter is coming, and families who live in snowy areas know how important it is to prepare for months and months of snow. From weatherproofing the house to getting out the winter gear to preparing vehicles for winter weather, proper preparation will do wonders for your safety and comfort when the world freezes over.
Safety is especially important when you're out driving, because icy roads and poor visibility can easily spell disaster to drivers, passengers and pedestrians. I lived in Boston for two years and learned quickly to make sure my car was safe to drive before going anywhere in the winter. Even now that I live in sunny California, we still drive up to the mountains to enjoy the snow several times a year, and every time we go, I make sure we're prepared for driving in winter conditions. Here are 3 things I always do:
- If it has been a while since our van's last checkup, I take it in for an oil change and service.
- I make sure we have our snow chains in the van with us.
- I make we have a squeegee and ice scraper, and I make sure our wipers are good, so that we'll be able to see clearly out of our windshield in the event of heavy snow or sleet.
Here are 5 more great tips from the International Carwash Association (ICA) for getting your car ready for winter:
1. Wash and wax your car at a professional car wash – It may seem counterintuitive to get your car nice and shiny for what’s often the sloppiest season, but a thorough wash can remove harmful compounds that may cause damage when mixed with sand and road salt. Experts from the International Carwash Association also recommend a coat of wax for an extra layer of protection from the elements.
· Professional car washes can also save up to 20 percent of the amount of water you’d use by washing your car at home. They do this by treating and reusing their water, rather than releasing toxic chemicals and grime into the storm drains, which can often occur with pavement washing. Check out www.washwithwatersavers.com to see how professional car washes save water and help prevent pollution.
2. Check fluids – Check your coolant to make sure you have enough, as you’ll be left without heat if you don’t. Consult your owner’s manual to find the correct blend if you need to add more. It’s never a bad idea to keep extra coolant in your trunk in case of an emergency. Don’t forget about extra wiper fluid, either. It’s not expensive, so stock up!
3. Winter emergency kit – In addition to stocking your car with a scraper and brush, it’s a good idea to include a few provisions in case you get stranded in snowy and cold conditions. Pack extra blankets, hats and gloves, high-energy snacks like granola bars, drinking water and a first-aid kit.
4. Test your battery – The next time you have the car in for an oil change, ask the mechanic to test your battery to make sure it can provide enough starting power once the temperature plummets.
5. Check your wipers – When sloppy weather hits, you’ll want to make sure you have strong wiper blades to see through the elements. Checking your wiper blades for wear and replacing them if needed can prevent huge visibility headaches once snow and sleet arrive.
It really pays to be prepared. Driving through a winter storm is scary enough, and if your vehicle isn't all set to weather the storm, it can get much, much scarier! Stay safe!
Win a Winter Emergency Kit
One lucky Bonggamom Finds Reader will receive an exclusive Winter Emergency Kit courtesy of the ICA to help them prepare for winter. The prize pack includes:
· 32 oz. WaterSavers branded water bottle
· Carabiner key chain
· Medium flashlight
· 2 heavy duty AA batteries
· 19-piece first aid kit
· Survival tool
· Pocket knife
· Emergency poncho
· Emergency blanket
· 2 tea light candles
· Safety matches
· Survival instruction card
· Mesh sack
Leave a comment on this post and share a tip for preparing your car or home for the winter.
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following (note the bonus entries for following me on Instagram!!). Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, blog post link, Facebook id, Twitter id, etc.).
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This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on December 20, 2012; I will draw a winner at random on December 21 and post their name after they confirm acceptance. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here.
Disclosure: The International Carwash Association provided the giveaway prize pack as well as a second prize pack for me. Winter tips (in italics) were provided by the International Carwash Association via Blue Chip Communications. ICA, through its Wash With WaterSavers consumer awareness campaign, is committed to promoting the importance of using eco-friendly carwashes that use less fresh water and return clean water back into the environment.The views and opinions expressed here are my own.