What Should Be In Your Winter Car Care Kit?
Being winter-ready in the UK is non-negotiable as roads can be treacherous due to rain, snow, sleet or slush. Regardless of how long you’ve been driving, or how good you think you are, it’s always best to be prepared. That means making sure you have the appropriate winter car care kit so you are ready for anything.
As you may already know, winter roads are unpredictable so your car needs to be in tip-top shape and well-equipped. That’s why we have compiled a checklist of what you should have in your essential winter car care kit. We’ve also included some expert tips on getting your car winter-ready and useful links on winter driving tips.
15 Essentials For Your Winter Car Care Kit
To promote vehicle safety when driving in wet, icy or frosty weather, you need a survival kit. This will provide you with the necessary tools to stay safe in the event of a breakdown or if you need to help someone else. Make sure you have all of these essential items in your winter car care kit before heading out.
Mobile Phone Charger
It may seem like the obvious thing to do but how often have you forgotten to charge your mobile phone? To avoid this, make sure you keep your mobile phone fully charged but for added peace of mind, keep an extra phone charger in the car. A fully charged phone is vital if you are involved in an accident or if you need to call someone for help.
Sat-Nav Or Phone Navigation Apps
We are increasingly relying on our mobile phones in our daily lives and that includes directions. Before smartphones, we relied on our car’s Sat-Nav but not all of them had this functionality. Fortunately, we now have Google Maps and other mobile apps that can provide us with directions at the touch of a button or voice command.
Some apps can help identify your location should you become stuck in a remote spot. This will provide emergency services or friends and relatives with accurate directions. One such app is ‘What3Words‘ which breaks down the entire world into 3-metre square blocks. Each of these blocks has a unique, easy to remember reference which increases response times of emergency services.
An Updated Road Map
Indeed, we’ve just spoken about the importance of mobile phones and apps for directions but what if there’s no GPS signal or your phone is broken? Whether you’re stuck in traffic and need to find an alternative route or you are lost, having a recent road map in the car is hugely beneficial.
De-icer, Ice Scraper Or Snow Brush
As the colder weather sets in, snow or frost accumulates on your roof and windscreen. These are some of the most important items to have in your winter car care kit as driving with snow on your car is not safe. If you don’t remove all the snow from your car, it will fly off and potentially hit another vehicle or pedestrian. You could even receive a £100 fine and get 3 points on your licence.
Snow Shovel As Part Of Your Winter Car Care Kit
Another incredibly important, indispensable tool to include in your winter car care kit is a snow shovel. It is perfect for clearing snow if you get stuck, or for clearing the road ahead. If you have limited boot space, there are several great quality folding shovels available from various outlets.
Good Quality Torch
There’s no point being cheap when it comes to winter car care as you’ll regret it later. As the winter sun sets as early as 4 pm, you’ll want a good quality torch (with spare batteries) at your disposal. It will help you identify anything that needs attention or you can use it to make yourself visible to other road users.
Sand or Salt
If your car ever gets stuck, simply sprinkle several handfuls of sand or salt in front of the tyres to create some traction. Store it in an old plastic milk container as it keeps it contained and dry whilst making it easier to sprinkle.
Extra Set Of Warm Clothes, Gloves, Hat and Blanket
The UK weather can be unpredictable and you might one day leave the house without the appropriate clothing. If that happens and you get stuck in bad weather, shovelling snow off a stranded car or trying to fix something in a downpour is easier if you’re warm. In case you find yourself stranded overnight, temperatures drop rapidly and you can’t keep the car heater running all the time so a blanket can help.
Snow Boots Or Ice Grips For Shoes
Getting around and walking on winter ice and snow is challenging for anyone but you may need to walk to safety or find help. If you don’t have special snowshoes, you can always get ice grips that attach to your normal shoes. This will prevent slipping, sliding or falling and potentially hurting yourself.
Always Have A First Aid Kit In Your Winter Car Care Kit
You should have a first aid kit in your car all year but in winter, it’s even more important. During the colder season, emergency response vehicles may take longer to get to you and having basic first aid could make all the difference while waiting for help to arrive.
Car batteries always take more strain in winter as the lights and heater are on for longer. So, besides making sure your battery is on good condition, having a set of reliable jump leads in your car is essential. If your battery is dead and you’re stuck alongside the road, a passing motorist can help get you back on your way.
Remember, a dead battery means no heat which highlights the importance of having warm clothes and a blanket in the car. If you suspect anything might be wrong with your battery or tyres, visit your nearest Elite Garages for a FREE Winter Safety Check. To make it easy for you, here is our branch locator with additional links to more information.
Windscreen Washer Fluid Or Screenwash
To improve visibility when driving, especially in winter, you need to make sure your windscreen is clean and clear. You should consider adding screenwash but always check the bottle for instructions for parts per litre. This can vary on the time of year so be sure to check your vehicle owner’s handbook for the exact capacity and guidelines.
Having a hi-vis jacket in your car is highly recommended and fortunately, they are extremely affordable. Not that money should be a factor when it comes to car safety as a hi-vis vest is a lifesaving garment that should always be in your car door pocket or glove box. Leaving your vehicle is not recommended but when you do, a hi-vis jacket will help vehicles see you after dark or in low visibility conditions.
Pack Extra Water And Snacks
It may not seem important but you never know when or where you could break down. You might be somewhere remote or in extreme weather with emergency services hours away. We recommend that you keep extra non-perishable snacks and bottled water in the car as it will help maintain energy levels and keep your blood sugar levels up. Some examples include protein cereal bars, chocolate, bottled water and a flask with something warm.
Empty Can For Petrol Or Diesel
As any roadside recovery service will tell you, many breakdown calls are related to running out of fuel. Most of us rely on our fuel gauge but that’s not always advisable so it’s best to fill up earlier and more regularly, especially on longer journeys. You should always keep an empty fuel can in your car just in case so you can nip off to a filling station if you do run out.
Winter Car Care With Elite Garages
As your safety is our primary concern, Elite Garages offer motorists a wide range of FREE vehicle safety checks. This includes tyres, batteries, alignment, brakes, clutch and suspension. You can find more information on our website or click here to book your checks now.
Driving in the UK winter is challenging and dangerous on the best of days. So, to help keep you, your family and other road users safe, here are some useful winter car care and driving tips.
- Winter Driving: How To Safely Handle Icy Conditions
- How To Drive In The Rain
- What Is Aquaplaning And How To Avoid It
- Preparing Your Car Battery For Winter
- Should I Buy Winter Tyres?
Click the link to see more about a car service.