Every experienced car owner knows just how strenuous long journeys can be to their favorite four-wheelers. Unlike casual city strolls, long-distance travels require careful planning, thorough maintenance and a bunch of supplies that can help you deal with the situations when something goes awry.
Throwing difficult winter conditions into the mix only makes this already demanding task ten times worse. What can we do about that? It’s simple – put more effort into preparations. So, let’s take a look at a couple of ways to make your next winter road trip as care-free as possible.
Research the route
Winter roads are notoriously unreliable. Even if you do all the research in the world, the chances are that you will still end up caught in the snow. Does that mean you should ditch the research altogether and rely on the sheer luck to get you through? Of course not. Every piece of info you can get regarding weather forecasts, passable roads, alternative routes, and traffic jams can save you hours of waiting.
Also, do your best to stay up to date even when you hit the road. If you don’t have access to the internet, you can ask a friend to send you occasional SMS notifications.
Inspect the battery
Car batteries and low temperatures don’t exactly go hand in hand. As a matter of fact, dead batteries are one of the most frequent reasons why cars are brought to a halt when the snow starts falling. So, before embarking on any semi-long journey, be sure to check the battery and, if necessary, replace it. Although this can be performed at home with proper equipment, in this case, you should look for the help of a professional mechanic. Keeping a spare battery in the back of your car seems like a very good idea as well.
Supply yourself with spare parts
Speaking of spare parts, car batteries may be one of the first things to go, but they are not nearly the only part prone to low temperatures. Electrical systems, radiators, handles, windshield wipers, headlights, and other vital equipment are equally susceptible to winter conditions. Therefore, you should find a reliable retailer selling quality car parts and create your emergency winter stock. Granted, all these things can take a bite out of the already limited space you have in your trunk, but in this case, comfort should give way to safety and reliability.
Check essential fluids
As you already know, your car uses various fluids to keep the mechanical parts lubricated and their temperature under control. All of them are essential for smooth performance. However, low temperatures put a couple of them in the focus:
- Antifreeze – As the name suggests, antifreeze keeps the water in the engine’s cooling system from freezing, which makes it an absolute must for cold winter months.
- Brake fluids – Slippery roads put a lot of pressure on the brakes. Make sure this essential system is fully functional and well-lubricated.
- Screenwash – Winter roads are very damp, so the chances are you will end up using your windshield wipers fairly often. Keeping that in mind, you should make sure your screenwash does the job efficiently and doesn’t freeze on the windshield.
Prepare the tires
The tires are what keeps your vehicle on the ground and provide it with tactility when you are driving. Their effect on the overall performance is immense. And, as you can probably guess, they need to be well-adjusted to winter driving conditions. Therefore, the first thing you should do is to replace your regular set of pneumatics with the deeper-thread winter-adjusted alternative.
Second, keep an eye on the pressure. Every 10-degree Fahrenheit drop in temperature should be accompanied by 1 PSI tire pressure increase (use the manufacturer’s recommended baseline pressure as a starting point).
Prepare your emergency kit
This mention is not necessarily concerned with your vehicle, but it can greatly affect your ability to travel from point A to point B. There is a strong possibility that, in spite of all of your efforts, your car will end up stuck in the snow. Having these few items stored in your trunk can make this situation much more bearable:
- Spare blankets
- Foldable military shovel
- Power banks
- Traditional navigation tools (maps, compass, etc.)
- LED flashlights
- Portable air compressor
- Simple toolkit
- Jumper cables
- Safety absorbent
We hope these few tips will help you to plan and make your next long-distance winter journey. Most of the situations we considered above can be seen as a worst-case scenario, but that doesn’t make them any less plausible. Because of that, any opportunity to make your vehicle better fit for winter conditions should, by all means, be used. Your efforts will be more than well rewarded.
Author: Derek Lotts is a Sydney based writer and researcher, a regular contributor at Smooth Decorator blog. He writes about décor, gardening, recycling, ecology and business. He thinks all of these topics fall under the self-improvement category. He believes in the power of sharing ideas and communicating via the internet to achieve betterment.