Heavy frost warnings tonight? Fill a spray bottle with three parts vinegar and one part water. Right before it gets dark outside, shake the mixture well and spray it evenly on your car windows. The acetic acid in the vinegar will prevent water from freezing on your windows overnight. — Kevin Sullivan. Plus: Keep this survival kit in your car all winter long.
Let’s first state the obvious: Ice scrapers are the most essential winter car-care tool out there. Use one to clear off the snow and the ice, and don’t forget to clean off your front and back lights before you hit the road.
A flashlight is a good addition to your glove compartment and can come in handy if you need to get out of the car in the dark to change a tire, check under the hood or just need to flag someone down. Look for one that is weatherproof so it can be used in all weather conditions.
Invest in an extra shovel and keep it in your trunk for peace of mind. It will come in handy if you ever find yourself stuck in a snowbank, a ditch or just find a bunch of snow pushed up against your car thanks to a snow plow. If you’re tight on trunk space, consider a folding shovel or one with a collapsible handle.
Jumper cables will come in handy, especially if you live in an area where it gets very cold during the winter (or if you’re just prone to forgetting to turn the headlights off). Before using the cables, make sure you know how to use them safely.
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Tire Pressure Gauge
Cold weather can impact the air in your tires, so keep a tire pressure gauge handy. By checking the pressure on a regular basis and keeping tires at the right pressure level, you’ll help your tires last longer and get better gas mileage.
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If you get stuck in the snow and your wheels are spinning, cat litter can help if it’s spread underneath the tires. Keep a box in your trunk or in the backseat to help give you some extra traction when you need it most.
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If you become stranded in the winter, it’s going to get cold fast. Keep a heavy blanket in your car just in case.
The last thing you want if you get stuck somewhere is for your phone to have a dead battery. Keep a phone charger in your car at all times, not just during the winter months.
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Emergency Escape Tool
An emergency escape tool is inexpensive and will fit in your glove compartment or some can be kept on a key chain. These tools can be used to break glass, cut seat belts and some even have a flashlight, sirens or offer backup USB power for a cell phone. You never want to need this tool but it’s best to be prepared for anything.
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Keep a carpet remnant square in the car in case you need it for some extra traction. A piece of cardboard can also work. A car floor mat can also work in a pinch.
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Roll of Toilet Paper
You may laugh now, but you won’t be laughing if you ever find yourself stranded for a long period of time. Keep a roll of toilet paper in your glove compartment. It will also come in handy if you get a runny nose or need to clean up a small spill.
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What can’t you use duct tape for? A roll of duct tape kept in the car can be used as a quick bandage if you can’t find your first aid kit, you can wrap it around the tops of your boots to keep the snow out and you can use it to tape together a bunch of roadside debris (sticks, bags, etc.) to form a mat to provide traction under the tires if you’re stuck on snow or ice.