It’s that time of year here in the snowy states; you will find people who either hate it or love it, but that doesn’t matter if you aren’t prepared for it when you drive. Here are some basic things to check -

On the outside:

Check Tire Tread – This is one of the few times a penny has great value. Turn the penny head down and stick it between your tire tread. If you can see Lincoln’s head fully, your tires legally need to be replaced. If you have no tire tread to put the penny in, you will be dancing on ice like Oksana Baiul, but not looking as pretty!

Windshield – A decent way to keep the fogging to a minimum on the windows is to clean them with vinegar and water, then dry them off with newspaper. This seems to work for about a month or so for me.

Windshield Wipers – Nothing is as annoying as running the wipers and getting wide streaks while you are trying to drive. Time to replace the blades. However, if you are in a hurry to get to work and don’t have time. Grab some sandpaper, fine grained is best, and run them along the blade on both sides. This should bring the rubber back in shape enough until you can replace them.

Lights – Clean the inside of the headlight case, if you can get to it. Vinegar and water work well. This is also a good time to check if any lights are burned out on the car.

Check the inside:

Junk in the Trunk – This is a good type of junk. Have a blanket handy, a first aid kit, flashlight, extra gloves, kittly litter/sand(for traction) and whatever else you may need. Enough of this stuff and you won’t need 35# bags of sand to weigh the car down. If you are like me, put some of these items in the back seat for easy access and to keep the blanket warm.

Glove Compartment – If you don’t carry around the ubiquitous cell phone, time to get one. If it doesn’t have service, that is fine, the 911 feature will still work as long as you have battery power and signal strength. Throw this in your glove box for the ‘just in case’.

I’m sure this doesn’t cover it all, but some basics to get you started. Happy sledding!


  1. Jerry // Friday, December 05, 2008 11:56:00 AM  

    Winterizing your car may not lower your insurance premium but it will keep you safer and can lead to savings throughout the winter.

  2. Anonymous // Sunday, December 07, 2008 2:09:00 PM  

    One more thing that I'd keep in the trunk: Jumper cables. It's much cheaper to get a jump from a kindly stranger than to have to call a tow truck.

  3. ~Dawn C // Sunday, December 07, 2008 2:10:00 PM  

    Good one, forgot that one.