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20 useful things that every winter should be in every car

Real winter always comes unexpectedly. And now a strong cold snap is approaching the United States. It's time to prepare your car for this. Edition Lifehacker made a selection of items for the car that will definitely come in handy during the cold season, and thanks to them travel will be more comfortable and safe.

Photo: Shutterstock

To leave the yard in bad weather

Lock defrost

Previously, ice, bound in castles, was fought with hot water. Since then, more innovative means have been invented.

Most defrosters contain alcohol, which has a low freezing point and high penetration, and silicone or Teflon, which are water repellent. They lubricate the parts of the lock and facilitate smooth interaction. Some liquids may contain oil, so the locking mechanism can be treated in the evening - for prevention.

Start-up charger

The car is unlikely to be able to start in cold weather if the battery is frozen and has lost its capacity. The starter-charger will help to revive it. It is a lightweight and compact device that not only starts the engine, but also charges its battery. If necessary, this device can power a dead laptop or smartphone.

Before choosing a gadget, pay attention to the type of battery of your car, its voltage, battery capacity and charge current, since starting-chargers are created for different devices. Also, learn about additional features. The gadget can be equipped with protection against short circuits and overheating, or with an accelerated charging mode, which will not let you be late for work.

Car shovel

Snow falling overnight can block your car, and then you cannot do without a special shovel. Choose models with a telescopic handle: it makes the instrument compact and helps you adjust the length to your height. The aluminum shank is lightweight and does not rust. Rubber inserts on the handle prevent slipping of your hands and protect you from the cold.

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The materials from which the shovel bucket is made have their pros and cons: plastic is inexpensive, but fragile; aluminum is lightweight but prone to deformation; reliable steel, but heavy. Pay attention to the brand: well-known manufacturers will choose the best materials for you.

Tow rope

He will save if the car gets stuck in a snowdrift or skidding in the mud. The length of the cable is clearly regulated in the traffic rules: it ranges from 4 to 6 m, while it must have at least two red and white flags measuring 20 × 20 cm, indicating the hitch. The most popular version of towing ropes is nylon. They are distinguished by good resistance to frost and do not get wet, they are easy to store, such cables are clearly visible on the road due to their bright color. In any case, regardless of the material, pay attention to the breaking load of the cable: it must be at least twice the weight of the vehicle.

Engine insulation

After a long parking before leaving, almost every motorist warms up the engine from 5 to 20 minutes in winter. To make the process go faster, you can use an auto blanket. This is a heater that is placed under the hood of a car to keep warm in the cold from -5 to -50 ℃. A warm air cushion is formed under the hood, which lasts up to 4 hours depending on the outside temperature. At the same time, the car blanket does not lead to overheating of the engine while driving: it does not cover the radiator and does not interfere with its cooling. This thing not only keeps the engine warm, but also helps to save gasoline.

Cat litter

No, this is not a mistake or a joke, but a creative and effective way to get a car stuck in the snow: just make a path of granules in front of it, and the car will move faster without skidding. In general, it is better to use broken brick for this purpose, but the filler is easier to find in a regular supermarket and easier to take with you: it is already packed in a bag of the required volume. Choose a mineral filler. And if you accidentally took silica gel, do not worry - this one will also come in handy: in many forums, motorists claim that it will save the glass in the car from fogging up. To do this, you need to pour it into a sock, tie it tightly and put it on the dashboard, if this does not offend aesthetic feelings, or under the seat.

To see well where you are going


Accident on the winter road is much higher than in summer. It is worth making secure in case of a controversial situation during an accident. For the DVR that you will use in the winter, the night-time function is especially important. And with the help of this baby you can monitor the car during parking.

Scraper brush

Without it, it is quite difficult to prepare a car for a trip in winter. A good brush should clean the machine quickly, efficiently and as gently as possible. In the correct model, the pile bends well, and when the temperature drops, its stiffness remains unchanged and does not scratch the paint. The plastic of the scraper must be rigid and resistant to mechanical stress. At the same time, a tool with a too hard working surface can scratch glass and paintwork. In high-quality brushes, the handles are made of non-slip heat-insulating material.

Anti rain

Today it is frosty, and tomorrow it will rain, and sometimes all at once in one day. Anti-rain makes it easier for wipers to work, and the blades need to be changed less frequently. When the product is applied, which contains solvents, polymers and silicone, the liquid component evaporates. This forms a thin transparent film - a kind of hydrophobic coating on the glass. Water slides off the surface quickly. It is better not to save money: a poor-quality product can impair the visibility of the glass or will not last long enough.

Glass washer fluid

Always maintain the supply of this product in the trunk: a windshield washer bottle will not last long when snow falls on the windshield for several hours a day and dirt flies from under the wheels of other cars.

To choose the right anti-freeze, do not save, do not buy the product from your hands, study the label. Harmless windshield washer fluids are made on the basis of isopropyl and ethyl alcohols. In addition, most manufacturers indicate that the product is made without the use of the toxic substance methanol. Cheap windshield washers may be thinned or contain the same methanol.

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By the way, the smell of this harmful substance is practically not felt, and the non-freezing, on the contrary, smells quite sharply. That is why fragrances are added to them. So the strong smell of glass cleaning liquids speaks more about their quality.

Photo: Shutterstock

Polarized Glasses

Drivers are well aware of the situation: in frost with bright sun, snow, reflecting the rays, glares. This makes it difficult to keep track of the road. Polarized glasses with colored lenses can remedy the situation. In snowy weather, the picture in the yellow spectrum is clearer. In the dark, they will also come in handy - they will help fight the glare of the headlights.


It gets dark early in winter, so the risk of getting stuck in an unfamiliar place increases. With a flashlight it’s not so scary: you can at least try to look at the signs and understand where you are, as well as give a signal to other drivers. For this, a small tourist device suitable for low temperatures is useful. There are miracle models that combine a flashlight and charging, as well as capable of giving an SOS signal.

So that everything is in order in the car

Silicone Grease

If before the onset of winter you decided to carry out car prophylaxis, include lubrication of window, trunk and door seals in the number of procedures: then these parts will not freeze and will not crack. Silicone grease improves tightness, sound insulation and thermal protection. Processing should be repeated every time after washing the car, when rubber parts are particularly susceptible to frost.

Car vacuum cleaner

If in summer you can do without a vacuum cleaner, then in winter it is decidedly impossible. It will help get rid of dirt, salt, gravel and other unpleasant things from the street, which does not belong in the car. For winter, a model with the function of collecting water, wireless or powered by a cigarette lighter, is suitable. Some vacuum cleaners can become car washes for a while.

First-aid kit

First aid kit must be in the car at any time of the year. But in winter, the basic set can be supplemented with special preparations. Especially if you are planning a long family trip. Antipyretic and painkillers, medications for sore throat and runny nose, warming plasters and balms, and a protective cream for the skin will not interfere.


With hot tea, even in the longest jam it will be a little warmer and calmer. The advantage of cars is that in this case a thermos can be chosen not for its compactness, but for a large volume for several mugs. The metal case protects it from drops and bumps. A vacuum interlayer between the flask and the body will help maintain the temperature for a long time.

A thermo mug with a tightly screwed lid and a lid-drinker does not hurt - it is convenient to put it in a cup holder.

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In the first winter traffic jam, you will be glad that you have brought your thermal socks with you. When choosing, pay attention to some details. Good socks are made of high-tech fiber with a dense knit on the lower leg, foot and heel. There should be a flat seam in the area of ​​the fingertips, and elastic bands on the lower leg and foot, which will prevent tissue from gathering during walking. It is better to have a fleecy inside the sock - this will improve blood circulation.

Driving gloves

What to do if the steering wheel is icy and you need to drive urgently, but the road will be long? Put on gloves to keep your hands from getting cold. This accessory has a special cut. Gloves can be with or without fingers, but their main feature is a crescent-shaped cutout on the top of the hand at the bottom, the edges of which are closed with a strap on a button. Most often, gloves are made of genuine leather, which is durable and has an excellent ability to retain heat.


Fleece blanket, warm, light and soft, does not take up much space and will come in handy if some of the passengers need to warm up. The structure of the fleece, which is made of polyester, resembles wool: it allows air to pass through, absorbs moisture and creates thermal insulation. It is unpretentious in leaving, and if it loses its shape, it is easy to replace it with a new one, since such models are very budgetary.

Fan heater

If the passenger does not have a blanket, and the standard stove is not designed for harsh winters, then you can put an automobile fan heater in the glove compartment. This is a small device that runs on a cigarette lighter. It has a cooler and a heating element. The gadget can also be used to warm the windshield or rear window, as well as melt the frost.

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