Winter car accessories are essential. Driving in snow, ice, and freezing temperatures can present unexpected problems, so it's important to be prepared. If you don't have the right safety accessories, driving through the winter wonderland could turn dangerous quickly.
The best way to stay safe on the road is to stock your vehicle with winter car accessories. These simple and inexpensive tools can help you feel confident when the snow starts falling.
Below is a list of accessories designed to help you stay safe wherever you drive.
Essential Winter Car Accessories: Compact Shovel
Snow shovels are a staple in winter climates. The big ones clear driveways and pathways easily but are not the best tools to store in your car. Luckily, DMOS created a shovel that's packable, compact, and can fit into any vehicle. There are many other types of compact shovels that will work well when clearing snow from around your tires.
This is a necessary tool for those driving in high snowfall areas. When your vehicle becomes stuck in the snow, the best way to free it is to physically remove the snow from under the car and around the tires. You’ll need a shovel for that. Be sure to wear gloves and warm, dry clothing when attempting to dig out your vehicle from deep snow.
Another staple of winter is the snow brush. If you’re new to a wintry climate and don't already have one in your car, this should be one of the first accessories you buy. You might be surprised how long it takes to remove snow from your windshield and windows after a big snowstorm. In fact, it’s almost impossible to clear a snow-covered vehicle with just your hands, even when wearing snow gloves. For thick ice that can build up during thaw-freeze events, most snow brushes have a scraper on the end of the handle.
Before you go, start your car with the defroster on with high heat and allow the vehicle to reach idle before driving. Use the snow brush to clear away loosened snow and ice to ensure you have a clear field of vision for driving.
If you're the type who wants to get going without any extra prep, consider a windshield cover. This clever winter tool keeps your windshield covered for a quick start in the morning without worrying about clearing your car off.
For a DIY version of this unique solution to snow, try putting an old blanket or towel on your windshield. Just put it on before the snow starts coming down and remove it before you drive. Of course, parking in a garage or under an overhang removes the need to clear snowfall entirely.
There are tires for every season and terrain. Depending on where you live, you might want to consider investing in snow tires. Unlike all-season tires, snow tires/winter tires are designed to stay soft and flexible in cold temperatures and have deep grooves to give you extra traction. All season tires are made of stiffer rubber that can get packed with ice on cold, snow-packed roads.
When temperatures drop below 45° Fahrenheit the rubber compound in most tires becomes stiff and the tires don't have their usual rubbery spring. However, winter tires are made of special materials to remain flexible during snowy conditions. This gives the tire a better grip on the road.
Snow tires feature deep treads that keep snow and slush from building up and creating slippage. They can also come studded or non-studded. Once you've picked the snow tires that are best for your driving needs, schedule an appointment to have them put on, balanced, rotated, and inspected before winter. Be sure to check the tire pressure regularly to ensure optimal performance.
If you can’t afford winter tires or are driving over snow in a 2WD vehicle, you can still maintain better traction on the road with tire chains. Chains are said to be the most effective way to grip the road when caught in snow or ice according to Metromile. Even winter tires need the help of chains to get through extremely icy or deeply snow-packed roads.
Chains are also a more affordable solution than snow tires. Plus, you don't have to worry about getting your tires changed for the cold season. They are easy to install yourself and they don’t take up much space in your winter car accessory kit.
Struggling to open your car door in the morning? Consider stocking up on some windshield de-icer. It's strong enough to thaw windshields and frozen locks but won't damage your car's paint job.
Be careful! Trying to pry your door open when it's frozen shut can also cause damage to your car door seal and other plastic and/or rubber components in your door handle.
Snow looks lovely when it's fresh and new. But, once it gets on your boots and your car’s floorboards, it mixes with dirt and turns into mud. Keep things clean with all-weather floor mats. There are many different companies that sell custom rubber floor mats for many different vehicles.
Rubber mats will contain snow, water, salt, and other unwanted spills from ruining your vehicle’s upholstery. When things start to get a little out of hand just remove the mats and give them a quick rinse. Keeping your floor mats clean and dry will also help you keep your foot from slipping when driving the vehicle.
*Disclaimer: drivers should consult certified professionals before attempting any vehicle maintenance and should assume their own risk while driving in hazardous conditions.