The average Winter temperature in Raleigh and the surrounding areas is 50°F. That means we’re dropping below freezing at night, just in time to make your windshield all frosty when you’re already late for work. That’s how it usually goes, isn’t it?
We can’t change the weather, or the late to work bit for that matter, but we can help you prep your car for the winter so you don’t have to worry about your car breaking down or acting up while it’s freezing out.
Learn the best (and safest!) way to scrape window frost, plus three other ways to winterize a car, below.
The Easiest and Safest Way to Remove Window Frost
Besides the sprinkling of snow we get occasionally, this is most North Carolinians biggest pet peeve with their car in the winter. And we get it – sometimes you work up such a sweat with your ice scraper that you’re all sweaty in your parka by the time you get to work.
It’s also hard to know how hard to scrape, since sometimes it seems like only an ice pick will do the trick. Here are a few damage-free ways to scrape your ice, from least to most expensive.
Make a Deicer Spray
Commercial deicers are full of chemicals you don’t want anywhere near your family. So instead of exposing them to that, go ahead and make your own. It’s easier and cheaper than you think!
All you need is a bottle of isopropyl(rubbing) alcohol, a spray bottle, and a few drops of dish soap, and water. The higher your rubbing alcohol percentage is, the better.
Combine one part alcohol to two parts water, and in two-three drops of dish soap. Shake and keep in your garage or even in your car! The alcohol and water mixture won’t freeze until about 5° F, which we’re unlikely to see here. Then spray it on your windshield with the warmer on. It should start to soften the ice up within a minute and make scraping easier and faster.
A Heated Ice Scraper
If you were one of those Sky-Mall type of people, you’ll love this option. It’s your classic handheld scraper, except the blade heats to a safe temperature to help you get started on those sheets of ice. It retails for around $50 and would be a great gift – just sayin!
2. Get Your Battery Checked
Any mechanic or car parts store will check your battery for free. When they do this they’ll let you know where in it’s life it is and might even help you clean off any corrosion from the top.
Why is this winter relevant? Your battery hates cold temperatures and will lose life faster when it’s cold than otherwise. Starting the winter off with a fresh battery, or at least one that you’ve had your mechanic check for any issues, will give you peace of mind when the temperatures really start to drop.
3. Rotate Your Tires and/or Replace Them
You don’t want to realize your tire treads are old and worn down when the roads are slippery and you’ve got your whole family in the car. The treads on your tires are what gives you traction, and it’s especially important in the winter.
If you live somewhere where the roads often ice over or you switch between rain and snow, it’s worth looking into snow tires. Snow tires have special treads that can handle winter roads better than all-weather tires.
How do you know if your treads are worn down? Do the penny test. On a dry day take a penny and flip it so it’s heads towards you, with the head facing upside-down. Then, stick Lincolns head into one of the grooves on the surface of your tires.
If you can see Lincolns head, it’s past time to replace your tires. If you can’t, then you’re set for now. The more of Lincoln you can see, the older and more worn out your tires are.
4. Update Your Insurance Policy or Switch Companies
Accidents happen year-round, but even the best of drivers can wreck on slippery roads. Make sure you’re with a car insurance company you trust, and one that’s not robbing you blind. We’d love the be that company for you, click here to learn more.
5. Make an Emergency Basket
There are some pretty rural parts of North Carolina, and you don’t want to get stranded in the winter, with nothing to eat or keep you warm. That’s why experts suggest making an emergency basket if you ever find yourself stranded in your car, waiting for help.
You need at least a few blankets, some non-perishable food, tire chains, a first aid kid, tow strap, and LED roadside flares or reflective triangles.
Finally, throw a fully-charged cell phone in the basket as well. We all have an old one with a cracked screen lying around, but as long as it turns on, it doesn’t even have to be activated. Any phone will call 911 for you, as long as it was made after 2005.
6. Replace Your Windshield Wipers
Your windshield wipers need replacing about every two years, depending on how much you use them. If you can’t remember the last time you got new ones, it’s time to take a trip to the car parts store.
If you tell them the make and model of your car, they’ll be able to find the right model in the computer. And if you ask extra nicely, they may even help you install them!
How to Winterize a Car for Winter
If you follow the above tips, you should be more than ready when the first frost hits. That means you don’t have to worry about waking up early when it’s extra cold, since all you’ll want to do is cuddle-up and sleep in.
We hope you enjoyed this guide on how to winterize a car. For information about car insurance, including weather-based accidents, contact one of our agents today.