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Two years ago I published this blog post on being prepared for the winter, covering off:

  • Practice
  • Planning the route
  • Mechanical
  • Supplies
  • Geek essentials

Some of these might be a bit tongue in cheek, but broadly speaking I think I got the basics.

But as I drive a lot, including through the winter, my question is: have I missed anything essential from a mechanical, electrical or drivetrain viewpoint that might risk my life or safety?

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Just to focus the answers, you might need to specify "winter". Around here (Rhode Island, USA) winter is nothing special most of the time. Siberia winter is a different story. Are you talking about a winter where you'd die of exposure? Or would only be inconvenienced waiting for a tow truck? – Bob Cross Nov 2 '12 at 11:36
That is an excellent point - based on the winters of 09-10 and 10-11, Scottish winters can be a 'die of exposure' scenario as tow trucks couldn't get through the snow. – Rory Alsop Nov 2 '12 at 11:42
Your question needs to be reasonably scoped so that it can be practically answered. You should focus questions that you ask to one topic for example, which mechanical supplies should I keep in my car during winter. Your question as it is it too broad and cannot be reasonably answered. – hillsons Nov 3 '12 at 23:52
up vote 2 down vote accepted

One suggestion I would have is to allow your car to warm up before driving. Modern cars are eons better at this, but nothing short of a wreck is harder on a car than being driven when the engine's oil isn't up to temperature (and bearing clearances are off, etc.).

How long is up for debate. I believe the general consensus is at least a couple minutes.

Also, avoiding high RPMs and loads until the temperature gauge reads normal is also recommended.

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Good call - can't think why I hadn't included this! – Rory Alsop Nov 9 '12 at 15:09
Doesn't have much to do with being prepared for the winter, as it does car upkeep. – Nick Nov 9 '12 at 18:54
A proper oil for the temperature is key, really. If you're running too thick of an oil you're going to suffer hard starts and increased wear. – Parker Nov 9 '12 at 22:31
There we go. That's what I meant. – Nick Nov 10 '12 at 21:07

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