Thinking of a fun road trip that will take you through snowy conditions? A drive to check the snow and perhaps even get out and play in it can be exciting and fun, but if you’re less prepared, it can also be dangerous. Before you go, here are a few things you’ll want to do to make sure both you and your vehicle are ready for the trip.
Prepare With a Pre-Trip Inspection
The first thing to consider before a trip into a winter wonderland is a little pre-trip inspection. You don’t need to have to be a mechanic to do your own inspection, but if it’s been a long time since your last maintenance checkup, it’s worth it to take it in and have it checked before you leave. This type of checkup is often free when getting an oil replacement or when other routine maintenance is carried out.
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If you’re carrying out the inspection yourself, check the following things, and if you’re not sure of any of them, take your car to your nearest auto parts store as they too will test or check most of these things for you for free:
- Full tank of gas
- Battery charging / fully charged
- Tire pressure: the inside of the driver’s side door will tell you the appropriate PSI (pounds per square inch) for your tires
- Belts and hoses (no cracks or tears)
- Radiator topped off with antifreeze appropriate to your weather conditions (check when the engine is completely cooled)
- Heater and defroster working
- Wipers and wiper blades working and in good condition
- Lights working
- Check on brakes, including parking brake
Packing and Preparing for the Worst
After you’ve checked your car out, it’s time to pack it with what you’ll be requiring when traveling into a snow zone. Just what will you require, though? In the winter it’s often hard to predict what you’ll need in every scenario, so it’s best to pack for the worst case such as: passes closing, an accident, or a big storm that causes all travel to come to a standstill. You don’t have to overpack even for a worst case scenario — just one large tote container and then a few side items will be enough to get you through a wait of a few hours or even a few days.
Items for the Trunk or Rear:
- Tire chains
- Jumper cables
- Ice scraper
- Extra batteries for flashlight or radio
- Cell phone charger
- Shovel (collapsible shovels are available if space is limited)
- Rope (for towing)
Car Tote Kit:
- Snacks (non-perishable: peanut butter, granola bars, nuts)
- Boots / gloves / warm clothes
- First aid kit
Most of the items you require you’ll already have laying around in your house or in your garage. The only thing you may not have would be tire chains, but you can easily get them online or find them locally at an automotive store. To know when you’ll need the chains, check on your local weather or traffic websites before you leave. Even if there isn’t an announcement of tire chains being needed or needed, it’s still good to carry them since conditions may change by the time you get to the area.
This may seem like a lot to do before a little trip through the snow, but once you get your kit ready, it’ll be ready for years to come. Once you have your car ready, all you’ll need to do is grab your tote box and a few other items and you’ll be off to have fun in the snow!
Note: If you do find yourself stranded, call for assistance and put your flashers on — stay in your vehicle until assistance arrives.