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Tips for a Car Breakdown During Winter Months

With winter comes a long list of conditions that make driving and keeping your car running even more difficult than in the warmer months. While winter hits different parts of the United States differently, anyone can find themselves broken down in cold conditions. The key to making it through a winter breakdown is preparation both for your vehicle and for a contingency plan for such an event. The first step is making an emergency kit for your vehicle.

Winter Emergency Kit Checklist

This list is an example of what can be kept in a vehicle throughout the winter months to ensure if you are stranded, you can wait for help to arrive:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Shovel
  • Cat litter, sand, or road salt
  • Small broom for clearing snow
  • Extra medication
  • First aid kit
  • Pocket knife
  • Rope or tow chain
  • Booster cables
  • Blankets, sleeping bags, hats, socks, mittens, and other items for warmth
  • Snack food such as energy bars, raisins, mini candy bars, and fruit snacks
  • Radio, powered by battery
  • Matches, small candles
  • Distress flags, whistles, emergency flares, and reflectors
  • Cellphone adapter

Steps in an Emergency Breakdown

If you find yourself stranded after a car breakdown, you should know what to do. There are steps to take to ensure your warmth and safety while waiting for help. Since trucks can take a varying amount of time to get to stranded vehicles, depending on how many others are also stuck, it’s important to keep warm and be as noticeable for their arrival as possible.

  1. Call for help as soon as possible to ensure you sit in the car for as little time as possible. Many people join AAA to get roadside assistance when they need it. This could also help you get your car towed instead of sitting on the side of the road until someone you pay gets around to towing it.
  2. Stay inside the vehicle to keep as much warmth in the vehicle as possible. Repeatedly opening the door will quickly lower the temperature inside the vehicle.
  3. Once an hour, run the heat in the vehicle for around 10 minutes, no longer than 15, to heat up the cabin of the car.
  4. Use interior lighting as sparingly as possible, as it can drain the battery of the vehicle, leading to much larger issues.
  5. Clear your vehicle of snow to ensure it’s easy to find but avoid trying to dig your vehicle out. Unless you are trapped by a small amount of snow, you will only exhaust yourself and make it difficult to warm up due to sweat.
  6. Stay warm, alert, and awake. Staying awake will help stave off cold-related health problems and help keep you warm as you will be alert enough to make adjustments as needed.
  7. Don’t eat the snow, even if you are thirsty. It will bring down your core temperature and you can never be sure how clean the snow is, even if it appears perfectly white.

Replacing old car parts that are on their way out can help against the risk of car breakdown. Contact us today to find out what we have in our used auto parts inventory online for your vehicle.

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