By Lori Straus
Winter brings with it a whole new rule book for protecting your car from the weather. Purchasing some necessary accessories may cost a few extra dollars, but some will help keep your car in good condition while others are completely necessary to drive in the winter. In this blog post, I’ll cover several winter accessories for your vehicle.
Warming up Your Vehicle: Car Starters
Car starters allow you to warm up your vehicle without your having to step out in the cold and turn it on yourself. They can even help your windows defrost once your engine has warmed up (and if you’ve left your heat on the right settings).
However, start your car at the last minute, i.e., only two or three minutes before you head outside. Idling vehicles pollute the environment, and the longer you leave your car on, the greater the chance of a criminal stealing it. Making sure your vehicle remains locked while it’s warming up will help deter thieves.
You Can See Clearly Now: Ice Scrapers
As far as winter accessories for vehicles go, this one’s a necessity. Most people prefer an ice scraper and ice brush in one tool. The brush can be a real brush made of bristles or it can have a foam head. Select what works for you and don’t be fooled by higher pricing: it doesn’t necessarily mean a better product.
Seeing Nothing: Car Covers to Protect Your Vehicle
Car covers are a winter accessory that protect your vehicle from wind, snow, sleet, rain, and hail. And those are just the different forms of precipitation they keep off your vehicle. Car covers have year-round uses, too: they can protect your vehicle from bird droppings and accidental scratches. Some can also keep your car from heating up on the inside in the warmer months.
Lookin’ Hot: Studded Tires
Studded tires are a controversial winter accessory for vehicles. Unlike regular winter tires, studded tires have metal studs embedded in the tread that give you extra traction in ice, snow, and slush; however, they can also damage roads. For that reason, studded tires are only allowed during certain months of the year in Northern Ontario and are banned entirely in Southern Ontario.
Protect Your Carpet: Car Mats
Like ice scrapers, car mats are one of those car accessories that you need. Rubber mats are especially useful in snowy regions. However, still clap off as much snow and salt from your boots as you can before you get into the car. Rubber mats aren’t cisterns: they’re meant to catch the last drippings from your boots as the snow stuck in your treads melts on the drive, not all the snow you accumulated on your walk from the front door to your vehicle.
Be sure to get ones made for your vehicle. These can be from the manufacturer or aftermarket, but if they don’t fit properly, they could impact your ability to drive.
Winter Driving: Get the Right Accessories for Your Needs
Some vehicle accessories are needed, like ice scrapers and car mats, whereas others are really helpful to have, such as car covers and car starters. Assess your needs and your budget, get recommendations online and from friends, and choose the winter accessories for your vehicle that best match your requirements.