Winter is almost upon us in the north, and for anyone who lives in or around the area this means one thing – ice. It’s going to be on the roads, on sidewalks, and everywhere in between. Knowing how to properly handle your car in the snow is one of the most important things you can learn in the winter, and it will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repairs and personal property damage. This article will give you six winter survival tips from a lifetime northern Minnesota mechanic. It may sound simple, but if you have a truck and are stuck driving in the snow – you better be ready!

Most of these six winter survival tips come straight from a life spent driving in the north. You will be glad to know that all the information is organized by type of weather – snow, rain, sleet, ice, and fog. By keeping this in mind, you should be prepared for anything. Here they are:

o Tip One – Make sure your windshield is clear before you get on the road. If it’s raining, don’t even think about stopping. If it’s snowing fast – don’t even think about pulling off the road. Your brain will send a message to your heart – get out now before you freeze!

o Tip Two – Windshield wipers, and the rest of your window/windscreen protection, should be kept on at all times. In extreme cases, they must always be on. Never ever pull them off or touch them with your hands. The goal is to keep them working and to clear the snow so that it doesn’t do any more damage. If you have to pull them off, put them in the front passenger seat.

o Tip Three – Carabiners and snow chains are absolute must-haves. Get a carabiner that goes from door to door. They make a world of difference. Snow chains go around the tires and the bars on the frame. They secure everything in place and give your vehicle a very solid grip. Use them whenever possible.

o Tip Four – Proper winter tire and tread wear is crucial. Most people ignore this tip. They tend to let their tread wear down and their tires start to “deflate”. This causes problems, especially with the steering. This is an all-too-common occurrence.

o Tip Five – Make sure you car is properly serviced and checked for leaks. Leaks happen all the time in subzero temperatures. It’s just a matter of time until something goes wrong. In extreme cases, the leak might not even be visible. But at least you know where it is and can do something about it before it’s too late.

Winter weather can be treacherous. However, if you have the proper gear, preparation and know how to use it, you can greatly increase your chances of staying alive. These are five survival tips from a lifetime northern Minnesota winter mechanic. Always remember that the weather isn’t your friends. Get ready, and be safe.

o Tip Four – Proper Driving Habits. If you drive in snow, ice, rain or very hot weather, make sure that you keep your windshield cracked. If your windshield cracks, it will give any ice a big chance to break loose and come into contact with your windshield, which could cause an accident. Windshields in vehicles are meant to provide protection against wind, debris, trees and road conditions, not to prevent themselves from cracks and breaks – so practice driving with safety in mind.

o Tip Three – Don’t forget your mirrors. Your vehicle mirror your eyes on the road. You don’t want to make an unsafe left turn, and you also don’t want to make an unsafe right turn, either. Always be sure that your mirror is turned on, with a clear view of both your front and back tires.

o Tip Two – Proper Fuel Preparation. Prior to driving, fill all tanks of gas as fully as possible. This is especially true if the gas station is located close to your home, because gas prices can quickly escalate. You’ll want to get at least a gallon of gas before you leave home in case of an emergency. Also, do a quick check of the gas tank of your vehicle to make sure that it’s full before you head out.

o Tip One – Keep Hydrated. If you’re using a car heat, remember to fill the tank up and keep the tank full. Even if you’re using the car’s air conditioning, remember to fill up the tank. These are simple things that you can do to help yourself stay safe during the long cold months of the year. Remember, staying warm and hydrated will keep you from becoming too cold and from causing bodily harm – so take care of yourself!

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