I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of money on my car every month. I’m still paying it off and will be for a little while longer. I need to make sure I take care of it and it lasts for a long time. Not only that, but I carry some pretty special cargo in that thing (my kids!). So staying safe is one of my top priorities. The winter months can take a toll on any vehicle, so it’s important to stay on top of things and get to them before they become an issue.
Top Five Tips For Moms To Maintain Their Car In The Winter
Check your battery
For example, right around the Thanksgiving holiday it snowed pretty good here in Denver, CO. I didn’t leave my house for days because I didn’t want to be out driving in the snow. Luckily I didn’t need to go anywhere due to the holiday. When I finally headed out to Target, my car wouldn’t start! Not only that, but my husband’s car battery also died the day before!
I’m not making this up – both car batteries needed to be changed the same weekend.
We jumped the cars and they started, but I wasn’t about to drive my babies around with the possibly that the car wouldn’t start back up. You can get your battery tested at most auto parts store to make sure your battery is dying. Most car batteries last for about 5 years (and mine was pretty much exactly 5 years old).
So you don’t get stuck like me, take your car to get the battery tested at the beginning of winter. Perhaps make it a yearly thing, like changing the batteries in your smoke detector at home. That way you can be better prepared for the situation and budget for the expense (the battery cost us about $100 to replace).
Check your tires
November was a big month for me and my car! During the whole battery issue, we were also replacing my tires. They were also 5 years old and almost completely bald. We waited a bit too long to replace them as we were budgeting for the cost and missed getting them replaced before it started to snow here.
The first snow of the season, I drove home and parked in the driveway like usual. Our driveway is on a slight incline. The next morning, my car wasn’t in the driveway anymore. It was actually half in the driveway, half on the sidewalk and almost in the street! Scary!
My husband wouldn’t let me drive my car after that until we replaced the tires right away. You can see in the picture above, how shallow the ridges in the tires are and how cracked.
If you’re not sure if you need new tires, take them in to get checked at a tire store.
Check your car seats
Now is also a great time to check your car seats. Make sure the straps are in the correct positions – they should be above the shoulders on forward facing car seats and below the shoulders on rear facing car seats. Kids grow so quickly sometimes, it’s good to check and make sure your shoulder straps are in the right position every now and then.
You can also make sure your car seat is positioned correctly. Many parents check the position of the newborn car seat but may get lax later on with older children’s car seats. You can find a car seat inspection location here or go to your local fire station.
Maintain a car wash routine
My car gets so dirty in the winter! Every time it snows, my car gets covered with dirt and salt mix as I am driving through the snowy slush on the streets. Not only that, but the inside gets extra dirty with mud and dirt. My favorite part of a car wash is getting the inside vacuumed.
The International Carwash Association recommends finding a car wash that is part of the WaterSavers® program. There are more than 1,500 environmentally friendly car washes worldwide enrolled in the program that meet water quality and usage standards. These car washes use 40 gallons (151.5 liters) or less of fresh water per car. Find a participating car wash near you by visiting www.washwithwatersavers.com.
Getting into a car wash routine is important in winter. Sometimes it can feel futile to wash the car when you know it’s going to snow again and get dirty in a few days or weeks. But it’s important to keep up this maintenance. The road salt used to keep the roads clear can cause the metal on your car to rust over time. It’s not a good idea to leave it on your car too long. Decide on how often you want to commit to washing your car, for example every two weeks or every month, and stick to it.
Set up your car emergency kit
Do you have an emergency kit in your car? If you don’t have one, you need to set one up ASAP! You never know when you’ll be stuck on the side of the road with your kids in the car with you. Be prepared for those “just in case” times.
What you need in a car emergency kit:
- Bottled water
- An emergency cell phone
- Jumper cables
- First aid kit
- Duct tape
- Multipurpose tool (think Swiss Army knife with screwdriver)
Travel bag – for you to set up your emergency kit for your car
Flashlight/Compass keychain – to keep you safe at night
$30 Visa Gift Card – to go get that dirty car washed at WaterSavers
Total Retail Value of prizes – $50
For more information, go to www.washwithwatersavers.com.
What other things can you do to prepare your car for winter? Let us know in the comments below.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Carwash Association. The opinions and text are all mine.