7 Ways To Prep For Winter Road Trips Tips

I’m Jerry Reynolds, host of the Car Pro Radio show, here with some tips on how to prep for winter road trips. From getting your car ready, to organizing your travel plans, this checklist will help you get squared away before hitting the road.


It sounds simple, but every vehicle handles differently, so take the time to know how your car handles in ice or snow. Especially if it’s a rental. Also get up to speed on how all-wheel-drive works, if you have it. We have an AWD video explainer here.

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Under the hood, make sure you have a good battery. Cold weather can zap battery power and you already need more of it to begin with when temperatures drop. Before your trip, have a mechanic look at the voltage, amperage and reserve capacity. Have the charging system and belts inspected…. And tighten connections.


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Stock up on windshield wiper fluid. You can go through it quickly in a snowstorm. Keep an extra bottle in the car.

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Now let’s talk route planning. Familiarize yourself with maps and directions before you go, even if you have GPS on your smartphone or in the car. And print out hard copies in the event technology fails.


Share your route info with family and friends. And give them your estimated arrival time.

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Finally, stock your vehicle. You know the drill. Bring along a de-icer, ice scraper, jumper cables, and a flashlight, along with other things you’d need in emergencies like food and blankets. Kitty litter can also come in handy. It gives you traction if you wind up getting stuck in the snow.

Want even more tips? Here are some courtesy of the folks at AAA.

  • Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage. Slime 40032 Automotive... Check Amazon for Pricing.
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
  • Never mix radial tires with other tire types.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
  • If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
  • Use your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle.
  • If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don’t try to walk in a severe storm. It’s easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow and become lost.
  • Don’t over exert yourself if you try to push or dig your vehicle out of the snow.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window to signal distress. At night, keep the dome light on if possible. It only uses a small amount of electricity and will make it easier for rescuers to find you.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running.
  • Use whatever is available to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps.
  • If possible run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill and to conserve gasoline

Reprinted from Car Pro.