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Usually, during winter, the weather gets really bad. Temperatures drop to negative and snow starts to fall. Ice, as well, starts to form on objects. People, on the other hand, begin to wear several layers of clothing, put on beanies and at least a pair of gloves to keep warm. The extremely cold conditions and the snowy weather are not good for cars either. Hence the importance of having at least the following five winter tools in the trunk of your car to keep it running throughout the season.
5 Important Winter Tools/Accessories for Cars
- De-Icer and ice scraper
There are different ways to remove ice from the windscreen of your car. You can even avoid it completely by covering the windscreen with a well-sized piece of cardboard during the night. However, in the case that the latter is not possible, you can use slightly warm water mixed with salt or De-Icer to remove ice. Unfortunately, warm water is not very safe because if it is too warm it might cause the windscreen to shatter. Therefore, a can of de-icer spray is safer to use and more convenient. Together with an ice scraper, it can be used to remove ice from the windscreen easily in seconds.
- Snow Shovel
A snow shovel is an important tool for shoveling away snow from walkways, steps, and paved driveways. They are available in different shapes and designs but most importantly, they can all be used to scoop, lift, or push snow from the driveway to make it easier for you to pull forward or back out from parking. Depending on the amount of snow that falls in your area, you can purchase the best snow shovel to get the job done. Alternatively, you can decide to get a cordless or corded snowblower.
- Snow sock for Tires
A set of snow sock for cars is a type of textile covers that are put on driven wheels to increase traction and grip on snow or ice. They are a useful set of winter tools/accessories that will help keep your car on the road during winter with little difficulty. They make pulling away and negotiating corners on the snow a little easier and less hazardous. They also reduce the chances of your car skidding into someone else’s vehicle, which is pretty common in snowy weather. The only precaution you have to take is to ensure you take off the snow socks once you get on a gritty road. Otherwise, the handy kit may shred and fall apart easily because of too much friction.
- Anti-Freeze Refractometer
As the temperatures drop below zero, water freezes to form ice. Therefore, if used alone in the cooling system, the ice may damage the engine. So, in order to protect the engine from such hazards that may occur during extreme weather conditions such as in winter, the coolant needs to be mixed with antifreeze fluid in the proper ratio. In the auto industry, glycol-based concentrated fluid (ethyl-glycol or propyl-glycol) is often used as an antifreeze liquid. The fluid is usually mixed with water and a refractometer or a hydrometer used to measure the concentration in order to ensure that a proper ratio is achieved. A refractometer is preferred to a hydrometer because of its high accuracy and it is not affected by temperature. In fact, almost all refractometers have an automatic temperature compensation mechanism. To use one, all you need is to draw a sample of the coolant from the radiator with a pipette and place a few drops on the prism of the instrument. Then, through the viewfinder, you can read the freezing point of coolant from the scale. That way, you can tell whether the antifreeze coolant is good enough to protect the engine throughout the winter season. If the freezing point is high, you can top up with antifreeze fluid to achieve the appropriate concentration.
- Battery Hydrometer
Lead acid batteries need to stay warm for optimal performance. They need warm temperatures for the electrochemical reactions to happen optimally. Unfortunately, that is not possible during the cold winters. Even worse, the battery charge tends to deplete faster in extreme temperatures. Freezing temperatures can cause severe, irreversible damage to a depleted battery. The damage may occur on the battery internals and sometimes on the battery case. Luckily, all these problems can be prevented by regularly inspecting your car battery using a battery hydrometer and topping off with distilled water using a battery water filler. A battery hydrometer checks the strength of the electrolyte and can also be used to determine the level of charge of a battery. During winter, it is important to check the battery more often than usual.