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Winterizing Your Vehicle on a Budget
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DaVante (He/Him)
Certified Financial Education Instructor
Posted December 15, 2020
Winter is quickly approaching, with many regions of the country already receiving their first snowfall. In preparation for more extreme weather, it’s important to winterize your car. When you take care of your vehicle, it will take care of you. But with the holiday season and the New Year on the horizon, staying on budget is important. Below are some budget conscious things that you can do to prepare your automobile.
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If you live in a cold climate, then defrosting your windows is something that is constantly needed. But this process can prolong your commute and is essential to being able to properly see out of your windows. Having windshield wiper fluid that will melt the ice for you can help to cut down on the amount of time it may take. These fluids are sold at most stores with an automotive isle. You can also make a homemade defroster by mixing one part water and two parts 70% isopropyl alcohol in a bottle.

Another great tip is to fill a sock with cat litter and place it inside of your vehicle. You can place the sock anywhere in the vehicle, but keeping it right beneath the windshield will be the most effective. The litter will help to absorb moisture and cause less frost to be present on your window. Also, using a silica based cat litter will absorb more than a clay based one.
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Good tires are very important for the safety of both you and your vehicle. Tread depth is an indication of whether or not your tires will need to be changed for the winter. Usually a tire depth meter is used to measure, but if you do not have that, you can simply use a coin. Do this by placing a penny into several tread grooves with the Lincoln Memorial top facing downward. If the tread covers the top completely, then your tires are at the minimum recommended depth for winter driving. Also, remember to check your tire pressure and ensure that tires are inflated to the proper psi. Some places provide free air, and others may charge a small fee.
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The likelihood of a hazard occurring increases in cases of inclement weather. You want to be sure that you are equipped with the necessary items to handle being stuck on the side of the road. Keep a heavy blanket in your vehicle. Using a blanket that you rarely use at home will save you money.

Also, keep cat litter or sand in your car, just in case you get stuck. If this occurs, you can put an ample amount of litter/sand in front of and behind tires to provide traction. It is also recommended to keep at least ½ tank of gas in your vehicle to prevent freezing of the gas lines, which can become a very expensive problem. Lastly, an emergency roadside kit with jumper cables, flashlights, hazard triangles, and a first aid kit will help in case you get stuck on the side of the road.
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