Winter is fast approaching and as fall comes and temperatures start to cool down, I’m trying to mentally prepare. Here are 22 car hacks that should make your life easier as temperatures plummeting this winter.
Clean your car often to prevent chemical damage
De-icing products can damage a car after prolonged exposure, so be sure to clean your car often. Make sure you clean the undercarriage, too. A good idea on how to clean the more difficult to reach undercarriage comes from One Good Thing: run a lawn sprinkler underneath the car on a slightly warmer day. Just slide it under your car and drive back and forth over it. It should get all the gunk out pretty easily.
For an easy DIY de-icer, mix vinegar and water (one part vinegar to one part water). Spray it on your windshield the night before to keep ice from forming.
Keep doors from freezing
Ever have your doors freeze shut due to a freezing rain? It’s the worst! To prevent that from happening this winter, spray some WD-40 in the cracks before heading off to bed the night before. Your doors should open easily the following morning.
Get un-stuck fast
If you ever get stuck in the snow and can’t seem to get anywhere, just pull out your floor mat and slide it under your tires. It provides the grip needed to get you un-stuck. In fact, Bring On Winter has this amazing floor mat that is specifically designed for this purpose.
Frozen door hack part two
You can also use Pam cooking spray to keep your doors from freezing. Apply it as you would the WD-40.
Let the sun de-ice for you
One really simple trick to de-ice your car is to park your car facing east. It’s an easy thing to do that can save you loads of time in the morning.
Icy shoe hack
Keep a spare pair of socks in the glove compartment to put over your shoes to help give you that little bit of grip you need to get through icy terrain unscathed.
Credit cards work in a jiff
Can’t find your ice scraper and don’t have time to wait for it to defrost? Use an old credit card, it actually defrosts quite well!
De-ice a handle
Dealing with a frozen lock in the morning? Rubbing your key or door handle with a squirt of hand sanitizer will melt the ice and shortly allow you to unlock your car.
Positive Med had an idea to make sure your key can turn that frozen lock and not break off to totally ruin your whole day. Warm up the key with a lighter before you use it. The warm key will melt the ice and unfreeze the lock! Ingenious!
Keep mirrors from freezing
The side-view mirrors are always something I worry about. Even if I park facing east, the mirrors are always the last things to defrost. This idea could literally save your life. Just slip a quart-size Ziploc bag over them the evening before and it should protect from frost.
Defrosting your windshield is always easier if you can run your windshield wipers over it to help move it along. That doesn’t work if your wipers are stuck to the windshield! To stop that from happening, just slip a grungy old sock over the end and it won’t stick any more!
Clean your headlights
Visibility is key when it comes to traveling during the winter. To help, clean the lights with toothpaste.
No more foggy windows
If your car has a habit of fogging up in the morning, one of the things you can do (which totally surprised me) is fill a sock with kitty litter and place it on the dashboard or under one of the front seats. The kitty litter will soak up the moisture in the air and help reduce the fog in the morning.
Another solution for foggy windows is shaving cream. If you wipe some of this on the inside of your window and clean it off, it should leave a film on the window that helps it to not fog quite as easily.
If you aren’t so hot on the whole shaving cream thing to defrost your windows, She Knows has an alternative for you. Rubbing alcohol will do the same thing with less of a smell. Just add a couple of drops of dish soap in a spray bottle and it should make it one thousand times easier.
Traction in the snow
You can also use kitty litter for traction to get your car unstuck in a snowy situation.
Test your tires
Tires in winter are like the most important part of the car. If you don’t have good traction, it can be bad news. One way to check if you need new tires or not is the “penny method.” WikiHow has a tutorial on how to do it.
A must for any vehicle in the winter is an emergency kit. House Wife Eclectic had a great idea for something simple that you can keep in the trunk of your car in case of emergencies. Go to their site for the full idea.
The Survival Mom has an awesome idea for how to keep your emergency drinking water unfrozen during the winter.
Skip de-icing altogether
If you don’t have a lot of time in the morning for scraping your window or warming up your car you might want to go with the method Odometer suggests. Just get a bedsheet and cover the windshield! Secure it in the doors and under the wipers and then all you have to do in the morning is peel it off.
Good Housekeeping has an interesting editorial that helps you decide whether it is worth it to de-ice or not. It’s definitely a must-read.