Christmas is almost here! Like most people, I bought presents for my loved ones. I even bought a gift for my neighbor’s dog. Furry friends are the best! This got me thinking: Have you ever bought a present for your car? If not, you should! Here’s a Christmas shopping list for your car. #7 could prevent a traffic accident for less than $20.
1. Winter tires
Would you wear sandals during a blizzard? Of course not. You’d be tripping all over yourself and your toes would get so cold they might turn into ice cubes. No, thanks!
Tires are like shoes for your car. They provide the traction it takes to deal with wet or icy weather. Just like winter boots reduce the risk of tripping on a patch of ice, winter tires lower the odds of losing control when you run over some black ice.
I published a blog about the benefits of winter tires. Click here to open it in a new tab.
2. Emergency kit
Smart managers encourage their employees to keep a CYA file. CYA stands for “Cover Your Ass.” You never know when you’ll be asked to justify a major decision you made weeks or months ago. When you have a CYA file, it’s easy to print any information that will help your case.
Emergency kits are like a CYA file for your car, but even more important. You never know when you might have a traffic accident. It might not even be your fault. If someone runs a traffic light and you don’t have enough time to stop or steer in another direction, what can you do? Nothing!
You don’t have to create your own emergency kit. Type “emergency kit for cars” into Google or Amazon and you’ll find plenty of prepackaged emergency kits that contain everything you need. Prefer a DIY approach? That’s okay! Definitely put these items inside your car emergency kit.
3. Bottle of coolant
Coolant (a.k.a. antifreeze) supports your car’s circulatory system. If your coolant gets too low, expect your engine to overheat. Driving past that point could cause critical damage to your engine. No matter how cold it might be, pull over immediately!
This is why it’s good to have a spare bottle of coolant in your trunk. If you pop open your hood to discover the reservoir tank is empty, fill it up and drive straight to an auto shop. Ask the mechanic to confirm you don’t have a leak, because that would put you right back in the same spot later.
Note: If you don’t know where your coolant reservoir tank is located, check your owner’s manual. There’s a diagram that points out the most important areas of your engine. This is one of them! Alternatively, ask a service advisor (PPA) at your friendly neighborhood auto shop to show you.
4. Ice scraper / snow brush
Poor visibility is one of the top causes of traffic accidents. That shouldn’t be shocking. How well would you drive with a blindfold covering your eyes? You might make it a few feet before you hit a tree. This is especially important in winter, because snow and ice will become constant problems.
Understand: You will need more time to get ready for your day during the colder parts of winter. Defrosting your windshield takes a bit. I know some people wake up late and drive to work with half of their windshield caked in ice. That’s as dumb as it gets. Please don’t take that risk. Get in the habit of waking up 10-15 minutes early so you have time to clean your windshield and windows!
5. Air freshener
Your car should be a happy place. It doesn’t feel that way when there’s a weird odor that offends your nostrils. Air fresheners are so cheap! You can buy one for $1 at the dollar store. If you want all of your interior to smell nice, check out the fancy air fresheners you can clip to your vents.
6. Jumper cables
You’re getting ready for your child’s graduation, which starts in an hour. It’s only a 15 minute drive, so you’re not worried about being late. You sit in the driver’s seat and attempt to start the ignition. You hear the dreadful “Click, click click” noise that signifies a dead battery. Oh, crap! Now what?
If you have jumper cables, no big deal. Knock on doors until you find a neighbor who is willing to give you a jump. Any decent person would be happy to do that. If you don’t have jumper cables, it’s time to panic. Most people don’t own jumper cables. You will be knocking on doors for a while.
This hypothetical situation might sound unlikely, but crazier things have happened. So why risk it? Battery jumper cables only cost $15-30. The investment is a no-brainer. If you only buy one thing from this list, I suggest making it this. Willing to spend an extra $50? Get a jump starter that can get you moving without an assist from another driver.
7. New wiper blades
We’ve already discussed the importance of visibility, so I’ll spare you another lecture on the topic. Replacing your wiper blades is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to improve your visibility. They should be replaced every 6-12 months. If your wiper blades create streaks or make an awful screeching noise, it’s time for a replacement. Buy a new pair and put them in your car’s stocking!
8. Satellite radio
Listening to local radio stations can get old. They play the same set of songs over and over again. Know the feeling? Treat yourself to a subscription from Sirius satellite radio. It only costs $10-20 per month depending on which package you choose. You’ll be entertained for a long time!
9. Deep car cleaning
It’s outstanding to wash your car and vacuum the interior, but that can only accomplish so much. After years of service and spills, your carpet get covered with stains that no amount of scrubbing will remove. If you want your old car to become so clean it feels new again, buy an interior detail. A professional will shampoo your seats and carpet, getting rid of dirt, mold, and the trickiest stains.
10. Tipin cards
Women Auto Know is proud to offer a cool stocking stuffer that’s packed with value for new and seasoned drivers. Tip-ins are fun and informative cards that contain actionable advice about the most important aspects of owning and operating a vehicle. Click here to view our full catalog.
Best part? Tip-ins easily fit inside your glove box, so you can reference them anytime you need to! 🙂
Do you know a friend who wants (or needs) to treat their car better? Share this car shopping list with your friends on social media.