All-wheel drive systems, drive assist technologies, quality winter tires: these are crucial elements to ensure your driving experience this winter is a positive one. But to really help your cause this winter, you can supplement that basic gear with a host of accessories and products that will help you overcome snow, ice, slush and cold, and maybe, just maybe, make a winter-lover out of you! Some of these we’d classify as pretty essential, others serve more to enhance comfort and driving pleasure.
Here’s our Auto123.com list of the items most apt to help you keep smiling this winter when you’re on the road.
What joy it is to climb aboard a vehicle that’s already warmed up! If the vehicle is already equipped with such a system when it rolls off the assembly line, you’re in luck. But you can also have a remote starter installed at your dealership by a qualified technician who knows your vehicle well.
Winter mats and floor trays
Protect the inside of your vehicle against humidity, salt, sand and dirt by installing winter-specific mats that are fitted for your model. This helps prevent moisture from settling in, which can provoke corrosion of the metal floor under the carpeting. These mats can be easily washed in your sink or at the car wash. In the trunk, consider placing a tray or a rigid surface to stow ski boots, shovels and other winter-specific items. WeatherTech is a well-regarded name in the domain.
Boxes and racks
If you’re into skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing, it’s preferable to refrain from loading your gear inside the cabin, for space reasons but also so that you don’t damage seats or the trunk. A hard storage box or other type of support that fits on and can be affixed to the roof or back of the vehicle is a great solution.
Products like those from Rain-X and Alaskan are wonderfully effective for melting frost, ice and snow in a matter of seconds, as well as preventing their accumulation. They can be used on the windshield, side mirrors, rearview mirrors, side and rear windows and even the windshield wipers.
The right snow brush for your vehicle
The brush you keep in your car should ideally be a model that fits your height and the size of your vehicle. A great option is a snow brush with a telescopic arm; an ergonomic grip is also recommended, as is the scraper at the end (hint: it’s best when it’s wide and strong enough to resist rock-hard ice on the windshield!). Have you tried the Garant brushes?
Lubricants for locks and seals
A silicone-based lubricant helps keep rubber seals on the doors supple and prevent them from sticking when the temperature plunges. A graphite-based lubricant, meanwhile, will keep the car’s locks from freezing, or thaw them when they do – but make sure to keep it at home or in your bag or purse, and not in the glove compartment!
Winter inevitably increases the risk of accident, or of getting stuck on the side of the road. In these cases you’ll be mighty glad of having put an emergency kit in the trunk. Ideally it should contain a small bottle of engine oil and coolant, booster cables, a tow strap, a mini-compressor for tires and emergency light beacons, as well as a flashlight, warm blanket, toque, all-purpose gloves and a first-aid kit.
Stuck in the snow or on the ice? To avoid a ton of shoveling and time wasted heaving the car back and forth, you could grab the traction aids from the trunk that you thoughtfully placed there and tuck them in under the drive wheels. You can also keep them stowed under the trunk floor with spare tire.