Winterize your car: Items to keep in your car during winter months
Winterization goes beyond the vehicle to consider the driver and passengers
Winter is a festive time of year for any person. Yet, with the season also comes the cold weather. And where you may be a seasoned prepper and survivalist, you may not be up to date on winterizing your modern day equipment, specifically your car. There are several ways in which you can drastically minimize the risk of damage to yourself or your vehicle with these easy to follow winterization tips.
Have Water in the car
Crazy as it may sound, you need to have water in your vehicle. In the event that you are stranded somewhere because of a roadblock, downed tree, the apocalypse, whatever, you will need to have some water. Now, keep in mind that during the winter the temperatures can get to below freezing. Allow some space for ice expansion in the container to keep it from breaking. Store the water in a blanket to reduce the chances of it freezing.
Granted, you could live off the water from the snow for a while, but then again there may only be cold temperatures and hard ground.
Have a mobile air generator
Tire pressure fluctuates in the cold weather. You may have the ideal pressure when you set out on a trip, but because of the cold the air can reduce in the tires. You will find this common especially if the car has been sitting for a day or two (say at a hotel or campsite). A mobile air generator gives you the ability to pump up your own tires and regulate the pressure in the tires. There are several different air generators available. Most are electric and work off of the cars voltage plugs. However, you can find gas and even diesel air generators if you look around.
Unseen dips in the terrain can quickly become a hazard to your vehicle. Having a shovel is a great way to keep you from getting stuck for too long. Granted, if you have a large SUV or Truck you may need to use that tow cable to pull yourself out of a ditch or a hole. Those that just get too much snow around the tires or underbody of the car can use the shovel.
I would venture to say that most people have not considered a chainsaw as part of the car winterization process. Yet, more people get stranded by fallen trees and debris during the winter than during any other time of the year (apart from maybe tornado season in Kansas). Now, I am not saying that you should start cutting on trees that are over powerlines or cause a threat to your health if you try to clear them, but if there is a tree that is blocking the road or close to falling on your car or another vehicle, cut it down and cut it up. If you have a large cargo area, take some of the wood for firewood for later.
A 5 gallon container of gas
Why 5 gallons? Typically a vehicle can hold anywhere from 10 to 20 gallons of gas. A 5 gallon tank will sustain you long enough to get to point B without painting a huge sign on your car that says “break in here and take my extra stockpile of gas”. If you want to have a backup for the entire tank, use small containers or lock down your large container. Remember, you will also need to take into account any tools and generators which rely upon gas.
First Aid Kit
As a prepper, you are familiar with first aid and with first aid strategies. You also understand that the cheap kits that adorn cars are little more than novelty products to make consumers feel better about their purchases. Have a spare tactical first aid kit in your vehicle. This is imperative. For one, you are maximizing your chances of a successful winter by eliminating the excuses of not having a specific medical supply to help you in an emergency. Secondly, you are establishing an alternative place for your first aid to accompany your disaster preparedness plan. DO NOT use your primary first aid kit from your bug out bag.
Alcohol (closed container)
Let me be very, very clear here. In NO way do I promote drinking and driving and in no way do I promote having an open container in the car. Both are illegal in most states (drinking and driving is of course) as well as dangerous. That being stated, alcohol does not freeze and can provide you with an emergency source of liquid if needed. Do not get beer as this really has no purpose in a survival situation or in winterization. Use a strong alcohol like whiskey or vodka. Again, KEEP THE CONTAINER CLOSED AND STORED AWAY FROM THE DRIVER. If you have to use it, discard the bottle and do not drive till you are 100% sober.
Steel Wool and a Mobile battery charger
I would venture to say that 75% of winter problems with a car have to do with the battery. In most cases the battery is drained and the car just dies. There are a few ways in which you can go about checking your battery.
Lick your fingers and touch both terminals (NO, NO, DON’T THAT WAS A JOKE)
- First try to turn the engine over. If you get some power and then the lights fade off or there is a slow dying it is probably the battery. If you get an abrupt dying of the interior lights it could be the battery or it could be the alternator.
- Pop the hood and look for any visible signs of buildup on the terminals of the battery. This will be a green like substance. Do not touch it as it is battery acid and corrosion and not good for the skin. Instead remove the terminals from the battery (with the engine turned off) and use the steel wool to gently remove the build-up.
- Most mobile battery chargers have a gauge which will tell you the power of your battery. Note that you will always have below 100% unless it is a brand new battery. If you find the numbers to be 10 to 50% then you need to use the charger to power up the battery.
These are but a few ways to keep your car and yourself ready for the winter season. Of course, you should do the proper and regular maintenance such as oil changes, fluid checks, and fuse checks. Remember, as a prepper/ survivalist you need to be ready for a catastrophic event at any time. That includes in your car in the winter.