Winter Road Warriors: Essential Car Hacks For Navigating The Cold Season

By Navkiran K

With the approaching cold weather, getting ready to drive on slippery roads and get your car out of heavy snow is essential. You may need a few hacks for a bit of help. There are some winter car hacks everyone should know to stay safe and prepared on the roads. Some hacks use simple items such as toothpaste and shaving foam for cleaning. In addition, some of these ensure you’re ready for worst-case winter situations. 

By being prepared for any situation that may arise while driving in cold weather, you’ll be able to stay safe and comfortable on the road. Moreover, knowing these hacks will keep you and your loved ones safe in harsh weather. Keep reading to find some fantastic car hacks. 

1. Prevent windows from fogging 

Nothing is more inconvenient than getting in your car on a cold winter morning and finding that your windows are totally fogged. But there’s an easy fix – all you need is a chalkboard eraser! You might be thinking, why would I ever need a chalkboard eraser in my car?

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Well, it can come in handy for more than just wiping the fog off your windshield. Just rub the eraser over all of your car windows, and voila – no more fog. So next time your windows start to fog up, reach for the chalkboard eraser instead of the windshield wipers—it’ll keep your windows crystal clear.

2. Extra socks In the glove box

Always be prepared for all situations during the winter! Keep an extra pair of socks inside the car. You never know when you’ll need them, whether for walking on icy sidewalks or keeping your feet warm. Slipping them over your shoes adds an extra layer of protection against cold and slippery conditions.  

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And if you’re in a pinch and don’t have any socks in hand, you can always make do with whatever else you have lying around. Scarves, ties, and even t-shirts can all be used as makeshift socks in a pinch. Do your best to fasten them tight because then they won’t fall off.

3. A quick ice scraper

Winter weather may do a number on your car. You may use a plastic spatula or ice scraper to remove snow and ice from all surfaces of your vehicle before driving. This includes the hood, roof, windshield, windows, headlights, taillights, and mirrors.

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Avoid using metal scrapers that can damage glass. Besides, using a plastic spatula or a card will work best. It’s inexpensive and also gets the job done promptly and skillfully. You may easily find them at home, your local grocery, or your home goods store.

4. Clean the underside of your car 

If you live in a colder climate, you know that the underside of your car can become caked with salt, dirt, and other muck during the winter. Therefore, it’s essential to clean the bottom. If you don’t clean it off, the salt and other debris may corrode the metal and cause severe damage.

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You may use a garden hose with a scrub brush or a bucket of soapy water and a sponge. In addition to cleaning it off regularly, you should ensure to wax your car at least once a year. This will help keep the paint safe from harmful particles.

5. Better headlight visibility

You may be shocked that using toothpaste to clean your headlights is a popular hack. It works because toothpaste contains abrasive particles that can remove the dirt and grime that build up on your headlights. Not all toothpaste is created equal, however. You’ll want to use white toothpaste that has fine particles.  

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Avoid using gel toothpaste, as the larger particles could scratch your headlights. To clean your headlights with toothpaste, simply apply some toothpaste to a cloth and brush it onto the headlight in a circular motion. Be sure to rinse the headlight with water afterward to remove any residue.

6. ‘Karate chop’ the ice

Karate chopping the ice on your car can help get rid of it quickly, but it’s essential to be careful. Remember to always take into account the wind chill factor, and never try this technique if the conditions are too dangerous.

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When it comes to getting rid of ice on your car, you can try a few different methods. Some people recommend using salt or hot water, while others swear by the ‘karate chop’ method. The key is to be determined and not stop until all the ice is gone.

7. No more sticky wiper blades

It’s a fantastic idea to clean your wiper blades with rubbing alcohol! It’ll help eliminate any built-up dirt, wax, or grease and help keep them functioning correctly. Pour some rubbing alcohol onto a cloth, then wipe down the blades. Be sure to let them dry completely before using them again.

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The alcohol will help dissolve the adhesive that’s causing the blades to stick, and it will also help disinfect them. This is a quick and convenient way to keep your wiper blades in top condition, ensuring they can do their job correctly when you need them most. 

8. DIY de-icer

This clever hack will open your car door if your key is made of metal! If you try to use a plastic or rubber key, you may end up melting it. Besides, use hand sanitizer as an easy way to get into your car on a cold day.

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Squirting hand sanitizer onto the frozen door handle works excellently on ice. The alcohol in the hand sanitizer will help to melt the ice, making it easier for you to get into your car. Also, it’s a great way to keep your hands clean and disinfected while you’re on the go.

9. Use cardboard traction

You may want to keep some cardboard in your car for several reasons. For one, it can come in handy for traction in case you find yourself trapped in snow or mud. Just place the cardboard under the tires, and you should be able to get moving again. Additionally, cardboard can help absorb spills.

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If you have a leaky water bottle or soda, just put a piece of cardboard under it to soak up the mess. Finally, cardboard can be used as insulation in cold weather. If you’re worried about your car’s engine freezing up, try placing some cardboard around it before starting your journey. 

10. Park in the Sun

Parking your car in the winter sun can help naturally defrost your windshield. The sun’s heat will help to melt the ice and snow, making them easier to remove. Plus, you’ll save cash on gas by not having to use the defroster!

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So park your car facing east as the sun rises from there. Moreover, you won’t have to spend time scraping it off with a scraper. Just be sure not to let your car get too hot, or the snow on the roof could start sliding off and create a dangerous situation. 

11. DIY de-icer

Did you know that you can use vinegar to de-ice your windshield? That’s right – a simple vinegar and water spray can help you eliminate the ice in no time. Add vinegar and water to a bottle, then sprinkle the liquid onto your windshield.  

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The ice will start to melt away instantly. Then, just use a scraper to remove any remaining ice, and you’re good to go! This hack is handy if you’re in a pinch and need to de-ice your car quickly. Plus, it’s much cheaper than commercial de-icers.

12. Rug for the Windshield

If you live where it snows, you know that one of the most annoying things is having to clean your windshield off before you can start driving. It’s even more annoying when you need to scrape ice off of your windshield.

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One solution is to place a rug or tarp over the glass. This’ll provide a barrier between the snow and the windshield, making it less likely to stick. Ensure that the rug or tarp is big enough to cover the entire windshield, and attach it so it doesn’t ‘go with the wind.’

13. Cover windshield wipers with socks 

Adding extra insulation to your windshield wipers can make a big difference in de-icing in the morning. Covering them with socks helps to keep the heat in, which means that your wipers will be less likely to freeze over. It’s a straightforward tip that will save you some time.

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Just make sure that the socks you’re using are clean and dry. Otherwise, you’ll leave a nasty mess on your windshield. Also, put the socks on the wipers before you go to bed, so they have time to work their magic overnight. In the morning, remove the stockings.

14. Avoid doors from freezing 

There’s nothing terrible like getting stuck in the snow and jamming your car door. You may be surprised to learn that WD-40 can be used to de-ice your car door! You only have to spray a small amount onto the frozen surface and then wait a few minutes for it to work its magic.

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The lubricating properties of WD-40 will help to break down the ice and make it easy to open your door. Plus, it won’t damage your paint job like some harsh chemicals can. So next time you’re dealing with a frozen car door, reach for the WD-40.

15. Pick up those water bottles

If you store a plastic bottle in your car during the cold season, it will create frost. This is because water freezes at a lower temperature than the surrounding air, so when the water evaporates, it will cool down the air and cause condensation.  

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The best way to avoid this is to store your water bottles in a cold place, such as the fridge or freezer. Therefore, always store away your bottles or throw them away before you get out of the car. You’ll have a leisurely drive in the morning without the foggy windows. 

16. Penny hack to check the tires

Take a penny to stick it in between the treads of your tires. If the President’s head is visible, they are not deep enough, and you need brand-new tires. In case you can’t spot it, tire pressure is acceptable. For a tire to have good traction, the treads must be deep to grip the road.

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The deeper the tread, the stronger the grip. So, by sticking a penny between the treads and seeing if Lincoln’s head is visible, you can gauge whether your tires need some air or even if you need new tires altogether.

17. Headlight protection

You should wax your headlights to protect them! Snow and rain may wreak havoc on your headlight lens, leading to many problems. Waxing will create a barrier that will help keep your headlights immaculate and clear. Of course, there are lots of waxes out there to choose from.

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You’ll want to pick one specifically designed for headlight lenses. Regular car waxes won’t cut it – they’re just not tough enough to stand up to the particles like a headlight wax will be. Once you’ve found the suitable wax, apply it following the instructions. 

18. Defog car windows using shaving cream

Foggy windows may cause poor visibility while you’re on the road. It may also make you feel unsafe while driving. Getting a commercial defogger is excellent, but what if you run out? Note that shaving cream and commercial defogger have a similar ingredient list.

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To defog your windows using shaving cream, you must spray a thin layer of cream on the inside of the windshield and rub it in with a paper towel. The cream may create a barrier between the window and the moisture in the air, preventing fog from forming.

19. Grab a broom

Snow is not just a pain—it’s a total hassle. And if you’re like most, you probably try to avoid it always. But there is a nice trick! All you need is a broomstick. First, clear as much of the snow from the car as possible with your hands or a shovel.

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Then, take the broomstick and place it on the remaining snow. Push down on the broomstick until the snow slides off the car. Voila! However, this trick is efficient only if the snow is relatively light and fluffy. If the snow is wet and heavy, you’ll probably need to take other measures.

20. Layering to stay warm

It’s a wise idea to dress in layers in the wintertime. You can wear whatever clothing you need to stay comfortable. Start with a layer of fabric that will absorb the moisture from your skin. This could be anything from a lightweight cotton T-shirt to a polyester baselayer top.

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Add some insulation on top of that—for example, a warm wool sweater or fleece jacket. Finish off with a weatherproof outer layer. This could be a coat, parka, or rain slicker depending on the weather conditions. By dressing this way, you can maintain your body heat.

21. Smack The Hood

If your car is covered in snow, it suffices to smack the hood. This will shatter the ice and hopefully free up your windshield so you can see while driving. But, before doing this, make sure to wear gloves or use some padding. You don’t want to hurt yourself.

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Moreover, be careful not to damage the paint or any other parts. Note that this hack will only work if the ice is not set in too deep and it’s just a thin layer. Besides, you may wish to consider using a de-icing spray or heated ice scraper.

22. Keep your car moisture-free

Although it may seem like an odd solution, using kitty litter to keep your car moisture-free is a pretty ingenious idea; it will help absorb any excess moisture in the air and keep your car from developing any unwanted rust or mold.

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Fill a stocking with kitty litter and tie the open end to secure it. Leave it all night in the car to absorb odor and moisture. It’s a better and more eco-friendly option than going for traditional car dehumidifiers. You may buy scented kitty litter for some extra freshness. 

23. Go easy on the coffee and smoke

Both caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and can potentially add extra stress to the heart. There’s a lot of debate over whether caffeine and nicotine are stimulants. But even if they are, that doesn’t mean they’re not a bad idea before shoveling snow.

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Caffeine may cause heart palpitations and increase the risk of a heart attack. And nicotine constricts blood vessels, leading to a dangerous drop in blood pressure when shoveling snow. So it’s best to avoid them before shoveling snow – especially if you have any health concerns.

24. Have a fog-free side view 

We all know how frustrating it may be to have our side mirrors freeze up in the middle of winter. It’s even more annoying when we must constantly stop and defrost them! Well, there’s a straightforward way to prevent this from happening.  

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Just place a plastic bag over your mirrors before you go to bed at night. Ensure that the bag is securely fastened using rubber bands. They’ll be nice and clean in the morning, and you won’t have to waste any time scraping off the ice.

25. Don’t skip the gas

It’s better to keep at least a half tank of gas in your car during the cold weather to prevent any water inside from freezing. Ensure you don’t run out of gas in the middle of nowhere! Driving on fumes can not only damage your car, but it can also be dangerous.

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The best method to avoid running out of gas is to fill your tank before the weather turns bad. Another thing to remember is that some stations may not be open during extreme weather conditions, so make sure you have a second plan if you’re running low on fuel.

26. Avoid getting stuck

Although it might sound strange, kitty litter is helpful in the snow. A trick to avoid getting your car stuck in the snow is sprinkling some kitty litter on the driveway or parking spot. The kitty litter will provide enough traction to help your vehicle move again.

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Make sure to clear away all the kitty litter before driving away. Of course, this only works if there is snow on the ground—if the ground is completely frozen, then kitty litter won’t do much good. But if there’s some significant accumulation, then kitty litter can be a lifesaver.

27. Keep duct tape around

Duct tape is an excellent emergency repair tool and can also be used as a fire starter. If you need to start a fire, cut off a strip of duct tape about six inches long and the width of a match. Fold the strip in half lengthwise, so the sticky sides are together.

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Strike a match and place the flame on the duct tape. The heat will cause the adhesive on the tape to become hot and ignite. You may also crumple up some duct tape, place it in the middle of the fire, and watch it ignite.

28. Always keep an emergency kit

It’s always a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your car in case you find yourself stranded in freezing weather. Some essential items to include are a flashlight, extra batteries, an emergency blanket, flares or a distress beacon, snacks and water, and warm clothing.

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If you’re stranded in your car during cold weather, stay calm and turn on the engine for heat (but only for 10 minutes at a time). Use newspaper or cardboard to block wind from entering the car if possible. Stay awake and move as much as possible to keep warm. 

29. Windshield washer fluid on the go

If you wish to be prepared for winter driving, one of the things you should make sure to have around is windshield washer fluid. This can come in handy in snow and rain to help clear your windshield. There are a few things to remember when purchasing windshield washer fluid.

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First, you’ll want to ensure it is rated for freezing temperatures. This will ensure that it won’t freeze in your reservoir and cause issues. Secondly, you’ll want to choose a washer fluid with high cleaning power. This will help remove any grime or dirt that gets on your windshield during winter driving.

30. No more wrestling with your car door

Doors getting stuck or freezing shut when temperatures drop is a tale as old as time. Rather than play a game of tug of war with your car doors, head to your kitchen for a solution: cooking spray. Spray some on the doors’ external rubbers and wipe them clean.

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You can also use cooking spray the night before a storm, and you’ll find the doors easier to open the morning after. Remember this effective hack during cold months; you won’t have to strain yourself trying to open car doors in winter.