We’ve sadly reached the end of October, which means the holiday season is approaching and you will likely be travelling more to see family, attend parties, and get your holiday shopping complete. Winter is definitely a busy time for everyone, including our auto shop branches in Wichita, KS and Tulsa, OK. As we have some pretty harsh weather at times, drivers and shops need to prepare vehicles for colder weather, icy terrains, and that plethora of salt that lines the roads.
Regardless of where you are going this season, for those of us who live in Wichita, KS it is never too soon to prepare for winter: we can be (and have been!) caught off guard before.
To help you prepare your vehicles for winter, the staff at our auto shop -- Auto Craft Collison Repair, has compiled a list of some of our best tips and tricks to make your family as safe as possible for the coming season.
1. Prepare a winter emergency kit
Especially if you travel at night or early in the morning, it’s vitally important to be prepared for anything, including being stranded. A simple winter emergency kit can go a long way towards keeping every driver and passenger safe throughout the winter and the holidays.
Especially if you live on the outskirts of Wichita, KS make sure your kit includes:
- Microfiber rags
- Emergency Flares
- Flashlight (with extra batteries)
- Bottled water (replace every so often)
- First-aid kit
- Foam rubber snow broom
- Ice scraper
Taking just those simple precautions should be enough to help you in the cold weather. However, we also experience ice storms and snow, so what else should you include?
- Candle and matches or lighter
- Cat litter to help absorb moisture
- Small shovel
- Nonperishable food
- Emergency radio
In a few short minutes, you could be prepared for whatever winter decides to throw your way. The extra preparation could go a long way towards helping you (and your car) survive the cold months.
2. Learn to thaw a frozen door lock
Unfortunately, our auto shop in Wichita, KS faces customers who have actually cracked their windshields or damaged keyholes by pouring boiling water onto their frozen car in order to gain access. Luckily, there’s a better (and easier; and safer) way to unlock your door this season.
You’ll realize that you have a frozen lock as soon as you put the key into the keyhole and it won’t turn at all. In addition to boiling water, another old “trick” you may have been told is heating the key with a match or lighter. This is both dangerous and could damage your key. While it may have worked for our parents and grandparents, they didn’t have the technology in their cars that we have today. If the microchip you have in your car is near fire or gets too hot, it will stop working immediately.
To simply thaw a frozen door lock, dip your car key in rubbing alcohol (very cheap at any supermarket) and spray lock de-icer into the keyhole. The lock should now be thawed! Now you won’t have to look silly using a blow drier or pouring hot water on your car.
3. Defrost a frozen windshield
As you just read, pouring a pot of boiling water onto your frozen windshield is not a good idea. It won’t make your day any happier and you won’t get anywhere quickly. However, a little vinegar and some room temperature water can fix a frozen windshield in just a few minutes.
To make this spray: Fill a spray bottle (you can get them in any supermarket) with 3-parts vinegar, 1-part water, and spray the mixture all over your car’s windows the night before a big freeze or ice event. The acid in the vinegar will keep the water from freezing.
Don’t worry if you forgot to spray the windows the night before – this same mixture will melt ice on a windshield!
No matter what you do this season, you need to make sure that you are being extremely careful so you aren’t stuck out in the cold.