What Should You Include in a Winter Car Emergency Kit? | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

What Should You Include in a Winter Car Emergency Kit?

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If you haven’t built your winter car emergency kit, there is no time better than the present. Winter makes road conditions a precarious place to be. Icy roads and deep snow could leave you stranded when you least expect it. Be prepared should this happen to you! A good winter car emergency kit will have supplies to help you with two different road-side challenges: 1) equipment to help you get unstuck; and 2) survival items in case you can’t get unstuck.


Preparing Your Car for Winter

Preparation is part of having a car emergency kit for the winter. If you’ve not prepared your car for winter, you only have about have of your car emergency kit prepared. For example, if you travel in the winter often, it’s smart to have your tires changed to winter tires. These are different than normal tires, as the treads are deeper and wider, helping your car to grip the road in snow and ice. They can help you avoid crashes or going off the road.


Keeping extra wiper fluid in your vehicle is also a smart idea, as wiper fluid gets used more often in the winter to wipe away salt and snow melt placed on the road. This is the white sheen you get on your car when you drive that wiper fluid will take away.


In preparation for winter, your first steps to a car emergency kit should be to winterize your car by:

  • Storing emergency blankets in your vehicle, plus a change of warm clothes for each person of the family in case you get stuck overnight.
  • Keeping an ice scraper in your everyday bag and inside your car.
  • Including a small shovel, plus sand, rock salt, or kitty litter, in order to dig yourself out of snow or melt it around a stuck car.
  • Having a rope or town chain, jumper cables and working flashlights in your car. Always check that you have new batteries and spare batteries for flashlights.


Winter Car Emergency Kit

A winter car emergency kit is essential if you plan on driving anywhere in the winter that has snow, and most places in the northern U.S. get it. A winter car emergency kit will help keep you safe and possibly even alive if you get stuck in a blizzard on the road or have a car accident. That’s because it’s stocked with all the essentials such as food, clothing, blankets, first-aid items and more.


Whether you commute a short distance to work or you have a long trek each day, make sure you stock these items in a winter car emergency kit:

  • Emergency blankets
  • A warm change of clothes (like sweats) for every person in the family.
  • Food for 1-3 days depending on how far you’re traveling. Store that food in cooler so the temperature stays consistent.
  • Toiletries, toilet paper, chargers, chapstick, dollar bills, and other everyday essentials. Include diapers if you travel often with toddlers.
  • Emergency reflects and flares so you can be seen by passersby.
  • A first-aid kit for cuts, scrapes, and any minor injuries that could occur.
  • Tool kit that is equipped with items to change a flat tire or fix small car parts.
  • A book or other forms of entertainment in case you become stuck for long periods of time.


What You Need for a Flat Tire

It’s easy for tires to lose air pressure in the winter due to the cold temperature outside that is more constricting. Always do a check of all 4 tires before a commute. If one looks low, but isn’t flat, stop at a gas station. Most should be equipped with an area to fill your tires with air, but you may need a tire gauge.


Tires that lose air each day may need a patch for a hole. Completely flat ones may need replaced.In case of a flat tire during your morning commute or a trip, keep these items in your car:

  • Flashlight
  • Gloves
  • Mat to kneel on
  • Rain poncho
  • Tire gauge
  • Tire blocks
  • Fix-a-Flat spray foam (this will patch holes in a jiffy when you’re already on the road)

To fix your car:

  • Pull over: Pull off the road to a safe, flat spot and engage the emergency brake and hazard lights.
  • Loosen the lug nuts. Don’t remove them, just loosen with a wrench. You may need to remove the hub caps first.
  • Jack up your car about 6 inches and make sure it’s securely in place.
  • Remove the tire. Now, remove the lug nuts and pull the tire off the wheel base.
  • Secure the spare tire. Push it all the way to the wheel base and loosely screw on the lug nuts.
  • Bring the car back down with the jack.
  • Tighten the lug nuts. Only do this if the hub caps are back on.
  • Pack up and visit your local tire shop.


Check Your Car This Winter

Haven’t had your car serviced yet this winter? Bring it into the shop so we can make sure all brakes, tires, filters, heating, and other parts are in proper working order. It’s always smart to have your car inspected and serviced before the winter months. However, it’s never too late to get this check. Winter can last many months in the northern parts of the U.S. With the slightest issue with your car, err on the side of precaution and have your vehicle checked out. For your winter car maintenance, tips for a car emergency kit, or suggestions for car modifications, call Scott’s Fort Collins Auto today at (970) 682-4202!

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