Dealing With A Cold Weather Car Breakdown

With the brutally cold temperatures assaulting Chicagoland these past few days, I thought this was as good as time as any to shove more of my unsolicited fatherly advice down your throats.

I hope you find it more useful than the talking heads on local television news advising you “make sure you wear a warm hat and coat before you go out,” like you were mentally challenged or something.

More seriously, unfortunately, vehicle breakdowns are more frequent during the most extreme winter conditions.  Bitter cold weather, excessive snow and icy conditions can take a toll on your car and then leave you immobile and stranded. Here’s what you should do:

Move Your Car: If the car will run, move your car out of the way of traffic to a safe parking spot or to the shoulder of the road.

Hazards On: Immediately get your hazard lights on so some nit wit jabbering on their cell phone doesn’t slam into you from behind.

Call For Assistance: Call a friend, family member and/or a tow truck, a mechanic or AAA. You’re going to need to get your vehicle started or moved as quickly as possible.

Don’t Abandon Your Vehicle: If possible, don’t leave your vehicle unattended. You risk get ticketed and towed which just adds further expense and frustration to your already bad day.

Write A Note: If you do have to leave your vehicle, even if it’s just to make a call, warm up, grab a burger, locate a bathroom so you don’t pee your new $200 pair of jeans, or whatever, leave a big note for the police or authorities. Just explain in the note that your car broke down and you are waiting for assistance and for God’s sake please don’t ticket me!

Stay Warm: Keep the car running if you can to stay warm. If it won’t start, stay inside the vehicle if you can stay comfortable. If it’s too cold, you may have to find a place to wait and keep warm.

Good Things To Keep In Your Car For Winter: Jumper cables, warm blanket, shovel, sand, kitty litter, snow brush/scraper. Most of these are a big DUH, but I’m just trying to be comprehensive here.

Prepping Your Car For The Cold: Keep your gas tank at least half full or more, keep extra window washing fluid in your car just in case you run out, and it never hurts to add a bottle of Heet or other brand of gas line anti-freeze to youre gas tank, just to be extra careful. It’s good to have extra bottles in the trunk as well.

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