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During winter, the weather usually gets really bad. Temperatures drop to negative and snow starts to fall. Ice, as well, starts to form on objects. People too wear several layers of clothing and put on beanies and hand gloves to keep warm.
These extremely cold conditions and the snowy weather are not good for cars either. That is why you need these five winter tools in the trunk of your car to keep the car running throughout the season.
5 Important Winter Tools/Accessories for Cars
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Snow sock for Tires
Snow socks for cars are a type of textile cover that you put on the wheels to increase traction and grip on snow or ice. They are a useful set of winter accessories that will help keep your car on the road during winter with little difficulty. They enable you to have better control over your car.
Snow socks also make pulling away and negotiating corners on the snow 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.
When temperatures drop below zero degrees Celcius, water freezes to form ice. Therefore, if you use plain water in your car’s cooling system or do not mix water with antifreeze c properly, you run the risk of ice forming in the system. The ice could damage the cooling system and the engine.
To be on the safe side, you need to mix water with antifreeze in the proper ratio. In the auto industry, glycol-based concentrated fluid (ethyl-glycol or propyl-glycol) is often used as an antifreeze liquid. You mix it with water to form a coolant and use a refractometer or hydrometer to check that the ratio of water and antifreeze is correct.
Comparatively, a refractometer is better than hydrometer for measuring coolant concentration. This is because it has a high accuracy since its reading is not affected by temperature. In fact, almost all refractometers have an automatic temperature compensation mechanism.
To use a refractometer to test the coolant in your vehicle, just draw a sample of the coolant from the radiator with a pipette and place a few drops on the prism of the instrument. Then place your eye on the viewfinder to read the measurement. You will see a scale showing the freezing point of the coolant.
The freezing point you read from the scale of the refractometer will tell you if the antifreeze coolant is good enough to protect the engine throughout the winter season. If the freezing point is high, you can top it up with antifreeze fluid until you get the appropriate concentration.
The fifth winter tool you need in your car is a battery hydrometer. The tool is important for measuring the strength of the electrolyte in the flooded lead-acid battery of your car. A weak electrolyte in a car battery during winter can freeze and cause the battery to not work. The frozen electrolyte could even cause severe, irreversible damage to the battery. The damage may occur on the battery internals and sometimes on the battery case.
But with a good hydrometer, you can prevent these problems from happening. All you need to do is use the hydrometer to inspect your car battery’s electrolyte regularly. The hydrometer reading will tell you the level of charge of your battery. If the reading is low, try to run your car regularly for a couple of minutes to charge the battery.
When drawing electrolyte with a hydrometer, you can also inspect visually the level of the electrolyte. If the level is too low, you top it off with distilled water using a battery water filler.
If you do these simple routine maintenance checks on your car’s battery, you will be sure to survive the cold season without the battery dying on you. You won’t even have to bother your neighbour to come and jump-start your car.
So, that is how to make your beloved car survive winter! If you have any other tool you like to keep at hand for your car during winter, please share with us.