Grit Blogs > Close the Gate

Winter Car Tips

A photo of Nancy KraayenhofToday I share some things I learned on Friday, January 14, 2005, when it was 10 degrees below zero outside:

1. Keep your car filled with gas. When you know cold weather is coming, you should not let your gas tank get much below a half tank, for safety’s sake, much less way below a quarter. You drive by like 20 gas stations a day and “its too cold out” is a poor excuse for not filling up.

2. Pay close attention to the lights on the dash. When the battery light comes on, the first thing you should shut off is your heated seat because, no matter how necessary it is to your rear end, it is not vital to the function of the car and when your husband comes to your aid he IS going to notice.

3. Don’t play your music so loud and turn it off before you call for assistance. “I Can Only Imagine” is very inspirational and great to sing along with but nix it before you dial your hubby to tell him the battery light came on. You can imagine what he’s going to say if you don’t. About the volume, a locked up pulley surely makes a lot of noise before it burns through a belt and you probably should have heard it.

5. Carry a working flashlight. Saying that you have a flashlight in your car means nothing if the batteries are dead. Be specific when you tell your rescuer what you have available for tools. Also, an incomplete socket set is not a set at all.

6. Know what the normal readings of your gauges are. When queried on how much higher they are than normal, you will be able to answer and not sound like a blithering idiot. When your temperature gauge starts to go up and your battery light is on, it could very well be that you blew a belt that you would have known was going to blow if you would have heard the pulley squeal if you had not had your radio so loud.

7. Mind where and how you park your ailing car. Note that when the serpentine belt breaks there is no power steering. Hang up your cell phone before you try to pull into a parking lot or you will almost run over a sign and upset yourself even more than you already are.

8. Don’t wait until the last minute to leave for work. Get out of that nice warm bed and leave earlier out into the bitter cold so that when something goes wrong with your car and you have to call for help, you won’t be so late.

9. Dress warmly like you are going to walk to work when it is cold out, just in case you have to. You never know when your pulley is going to have a attitude, freeze up and smoke through the belt that runs the thingy that charges the battery that runs your heated leather seat.

10. When deciding you need a soda while waiting for the handsome knight on white horse to come to your aid, do so right away. He is surely going to show up while you are in the cozy restaurant.

11. When the lady getting your soda says to you that it always seems to only happen to the wives, it is probably not appropriate for you to say that there are times when you would be willing to pay to have something happen to your husband.

12. My husband is priceless, and I love him dearly. Who else would smile and say it’s ok while he gives you his nice warm truck so you can go on to mind your daycare chickens while he stays to fix your car outside in the 10 below cold with the broken belt, locked up tension pulley, dead flashlight, socket not set, extremely low on gas that probably screamed like a banshee that you would have heard if the radio was not so loud.

I learned a lot about cars and stuff on that chilly winter’s day,

Now prepared, I’ll close the gate and be on my merry way.

Comments can be e-mailed to Nancy at Nancy861@msn.com.

brenda kipp_1
12/8/2009 2:00:20 PM

Very helpful advice, Nancy! It's important for a woman to "listen" to her car. I don't always know what's wrong with my car, but I know when something isn't right. Regular maintenance (I take mine in twice a year)is vitally important, too. It may prevent you from being stranded along side the road or stalled at an intersection. I used to have a car that died on me frequently and only seem to start again when a man showed up. It's also worth the extra money to have a AAA membership. I wouldn't be without mine! BTW, I love the song, "I Can Only Imagine." MercyMe is a great group!!