Winter is on the Way. Is Your Vehicle Prepared?

Top Tips for Preparing Your Car for Winter Driving

With the Lake Tahoe region seeing its first real indication of winter, it’s time to ensure your trip to the Sierra is as safe and memorable as possible.  At Sun Bear Realty and Vacation Rentals in Incline Village, we like to remind our friends about the importance of getting your vehicle ready for what’s to come.  Here are our recommendations for safe travel to and from the slopes.

Get Your Engine Runnin’

With temperatures all over the scale, we always suggest that you keep your antifreeze clean and filled.  While you are under the hood, check your oil level and battery and replace them if it’s time to do so.

From the Insight, Out

We are always amazed at how dirty headlight shields can be during this time of the year, and always have a towel on hand to wipe them off. Speaking of light, check the bulbs as well and replace any that are dull or burned out. 

One of the most important safety features of your car is one that is often forgotten: the windshield wipers.  They may seem to work during a rainy day, yet how does your windshield look at night?  After filling up your windshield washer / de-icer fluid, test drive your car at night to be sure the blades are free of cracks that often lead to streaky windows at night.

Overnight freezing that leaves your doors snow-crusted and hard to open is very common at the Lake. This is one of the best tips we can offer. Spray your car’s rubber seal all around the edges with any cooking spray to avoid being frozen out of your car, all season long.

Check Your Tires

The simplest way to know if you have the tread to safely drive through our Sierra streets is to use the “Penny Test.”  Place a penny with Lincoln’s head facing you and put the penny in the tread. If Lincoln’s head is not visible, it’s time to replace your tires. If you visit the mountains often, you may want to consider using snow tires during the winter months. 

Be sure to review the correct air pressure for your tires as well. This can usually be found on the tire or in your manual.

Did you know that tires can lose pressure at a rate of about one pound per 10 degrees Fahrenheit of temperature? It’s true, and if the pressure is too low, it can dangerously affect your car's handling, so it's important to keep your tires properly inflated.

Pack an Emergency Kit

This one doesn’t require much of your time, yet will be priceless if you need it.  Our cars always have a bag filled with the following:

  • Jumper Cables, and information on how to use them
  • Two Ice Scrapers: To share the task and to have as a backup if one breaks
  • Replacements for your windshield wipers
  • Portable Emergency Lights and Flashlights
  • Warm blankets and hand warmers
  • Water and Snacks: Be sure to remove the food when you leave your car for an extended period; there are still bears in the Sierra who choose not to hibernate.
  • Hat, Gloves, Extra Coat and Winter Boots
  • Shovel and Kitty Litter: Both are excellent to have on hand if you get stuck. FYI: The Litter is perfect for traction.
  • Matches & Candle: For heat, light, and melting snow for drinking water.  Pack them in a tin can and use the lid as your candle holder or snow scoop for water.
  • Cell Phone Booster Batter
  • Air Horn: Hopefully, you will never be so buried or lost that you have to use this, yet it will be another priceless item to have on hand if you do.
  • Permanent Marker & Paper, Bright Ribbon:  If you have to leave your car, leave a note. And tie that bright ribbon on your car in a highly visible way.
  • Emergency