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10 Winter Car Accessories You Should Have

Winter can make driving annoying. There are extra steps to get ready and the roads are a mess, but these winter car accessories could help.

Car Gadgets That Can Help Your Winter Woes

Woman cleaning snow off her car
Woman cleaning snow off her car

Getting your car ready to drive can be a chore once the snow falls. You’ve got to let your vehicle warm up, there’s a layer of snow to brush off, and that ice scraper never works well enough on the windows. The winter annoyances only continue when you track in that snow and salt that ruins the carpet. Then you’re out on the road and have to be careful not to slide into a snowdrift and get stuck. We may not be able to completely solve these winter time woes, but we’ve brought together ten great winter car accessories that could make your frigid mornings a lot easier.

All-Weather Floor Mats

BMW All-Weather Floor Mat - shopbmwusa.com
BMW All-Weather Floor Mat - shopbmwusa.com

Whenever you trek through the snow to your car, you bring in snow, salt, and sand that can negatively impact your carpet. The snow eventually melts and soaks into the carpet which can lead to that mildew smell and water staining. Then the salt and sand that’s dispersed on the roads ends up getting everywhere. Vacuuming these surfaces can help, but some all-weather floor mats will further prevent carpet issues and makes clean up a breeze.  

These heavy-duty rubber mats replace your OEM carpeted mats and they’ll keep your interior looking nice during the winter. All of those foreign winter substances are kept in check thanks to the deep channels integrated in the all-weather floor mat design. The trapped snow, salt, sand, and whatever else can then be easily removed with the floor mats and quickly wiped away.

Extending Ice Scraper & Snow Brush

Extendable snow brush and ice scraper - amazon.com
Extendable snow brush and ice scraper - amazon.com

If you live in the snowbelt you know just how important having a nice ice scraper and snow brush can be. Those dinky hand scrapers aren’t going to do much and they really make you reach to fully clear the windows. The next level up are those all-in-ones that are little longer but the way the brush is orientated on those isn’t very efficient. What you’ll really want is an extending ice scraper & snow brush. These scraper setups may cost a bit more, but they’re worth it in the long run. It gives you the reach you need to clear the entire windshield with ease, the brush is positioned in a way that snow is pushed off the vehicle rather than aimlessly swept around, and there are some that come with a squeegee too to help wrap things up while stuff starts to defrost.

Windshield & Side Mirror Covers

Windshield snow cover - urbantransit.com
Windshield snow cover - urbantransit.com

Want to skip the scraping down and keep those side mirrors cleared? Take a look at windshield and side mirror covers. These covers are made of a water-resistant material and they attach themselves to the vehicle in order to prevent snow and ice buildup. You just need to secure them to the vehicle, let the elements do their thing, and then simply remove the covers leaving you with virtually clear surfaces. These aren’t all ways foolproof, so there still may need to be a little scraper work here and there. Otherwise, it’s a simple fix that’ll get your morning off on the right foot.

De-Icer 

De-Icer washer fluid - acehardware.com
De-Icer washer fluid - acehardware.com

There are a couple different de-icer solutions you should look into for the winter. The first is windshield washer fluid with a de-icer mixed in. Not only will this washer fluid be less likely to freeze, but it also can be sprayed to remove any ice buildup on the windshield. That same de-icer solution can be found in a spray can too that helps clear away tough spots while your car is defrosting. It can also be used to fix frozen over door handles so that you don’t yank it off in frustration. Finally, sometimes the locks freeze and lock you out of your vehicle. For this one, you’ll want a lock de-icer. This is a specific applicator of de-icer that sprays into the lock to loosen stuff up and let you inside your frozen car.

Remote Car Starter

Remote start phone app - toyota.com
Remote start phone app - toyota.com

One of the best things you can do for yourself this winter is getting a remote starter for your car. A lot of new vehicles come with remote car start as a feature, but there are luckily aftermarket solutions for those of us with older models. This device hooks right up to your vehicle so that you can control it with the added key fob or even a phone app. Then all you have to do in the morning is click a button and your car will start right up and start warming up while you comfortably wait inside. 

Engine Block Heater

Engine block heater - amazon.com
Engine block heater - amazon.com

A remote starter can help get your car heated up, but an engine block heater will keep it that way. Your car should be warmed up so that fluids like oil and anti-freeze can properly flow through the engine. Running on a cold engine can harm the vehicle in the long run and lead to issues down the line. An engine block heater keeps the engine warm when it’s parked so that all the engine fluids are at the optimal temperature allowing the engine to run properly after sitting in the cold. Be sure to read our Engine Block Heaters for Cars article to learn more!

Studded Tires 

Car with studded tires
Car with studded tires

Want to get some better traction on those winter roads? You could take a look at some studded winter tires to really dig into the ice. These tires look like a normal set of rubber until you notice the little holes in all of the tread. These holes are installation points for studs that simply twist in place. While this type of tire will help dig into the ice to provide better traction, it doesn’t mean that braking and turning will be significantly improved, so still drive cautious on slippery roads. Before you pick up these unique winter tires, make sure your state allows for them and at what point during the year they’re allowed.

Collapsible Shovel

Collapsible shovel - amazon.com
Collapsible shovel - amazon.com

Nobody wants to get stuck in the snow, but there’s always a chance. If you get too deep in the snow, a collapsible shovel can be a great tool for getting you out. Rather than scooping snow away with your arms, a shovel will help you easily clear and deep areas around your car. Plus, if you’ve gotten high sided and your wheels aren’t touching the ground anymore, a shovel can help you reach some of that snow under your car a lot easier to clear it out of the way. Once you’re moved out of that snowbank, these shovels collapse into a compact size that can be easily stowed in the trunk.

Traction Mats or Kitty Litter 

Traction mats - thegadgetflow.com
Traction mats - thegadgetflow.com

Another area of concern when getting stuck in the snow is traction. To combat this problem there are two different products you can use. The first are traction mats. These plastic mats feature a unique pattern that provides a better surface for the wheels to grab onto. Simply place the traction mats under whichever set of wheels that the engine powers. Then you should have enough traction to get your vehicle wiggled out of the snow.

The other product for getting unstuck is kitty litter. It might look a bit odd sitting in the back of your vehicle this winter, but kitty litter can help work like gravel when poured on the snow. All you have to do is dump a little bit out underneath and around your tires. This added kitty litter on snow should give you a little more grip to move your vehicle out of a slippery situation.

Roadside Emergency Kit

Roadside emergency kit - amazon.com
Roadside emergency kit - amazon.com

If you can’t get out of a snowbank, it’s best to have a roadside emergency kit. These kits are full of essential tools that will help you stay safe and get the attention of other drivers. There are items like reflective pylons, a high-visibility vest, and flares that can alert drivers of your vehicle on the side of the road. These kits also feature items like a flashlight, gloves, a first aid kit, rain gear, an emergency blanket, an assortment of minor tools, jumper cables, and maybe even some tow ropes.

All of those items are great in the event of an emergency this winter, but make sure to also pack a couple of other helpful items in case you’re waiting for a while. Items like boots, blankets, and an extra coat can help keep you warm in the event that your vehicle shuts off. You could also stow some hand warmers and maybe even an electric blanket too. Be sure to have water and a couple snacks available in case you really got stuck in the middle of nowhere. These items are all for the worst-case scenario, but better to be prepared this winter.

Related How To Articles

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Jesse McGraw

Jesse McGraw brings his life-long car obsession into his writing. A fun childhood that involved growing up around race tracks, working on a rusty ‘99 Dodge Dakota held together by zip ties, and collecting Hot Wheels developed into a strong appreciation for automotive history. If there is an old, obscure, or rare car, he wants to know about it. With a bachelor's degree in Web Development & Design from Dakota State University, Jesse can talk shop about car or computer specs, focusing on classic cars, imports, and car culture.

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