'Tis the season for frozen windshields, stalled cars, dark mornings, and the need to prepare for such cold mornings. While Sacramento is definitely not as cold as the Eastern seaboard, we do have some not-so-warm mornings where it would pay huge amounts just to be prepared. I have put together a few things to keep in mind before heading out to your car.


One of the first things you'll notice is that your fingers will get cold really fast out there. My first suggestion is to make sure you have a pair of old leather work gloves in the vehicle. If the gloves are large enough you can use wool inserts to help keep your hands warm. Other items to have handy in the trunk would be a: 1) flashlight, 2) road flares (or road reflectors), 3) spare blanket (wool or safety), and 4) gardener's foam knee pad for when you have to get down on the ground.

Basic Tools

Take a quick inventory of what you have already in the car as far as tools are concerned. If you remember having bought a tire wrench but cannot find it then that is something that needs to be addressed immediately. Keep in mind that you will want such items as a: 1) lug (tire) wrench, 2) Phillips-head screwdriver, 3) flat-head screwdriver, 4) small crescent wrench, 5) plastic squeegee, 6) ice scraper, 7) clean rags, and 8) battery jumper cables.


There many places out there where you can find a container to keep most of your items. You can visit your local thrift store or find an inexpensive tool or tackle box. Be sure to keep this box somewhere accessible in the trunk along with your car jack (lifting) tools. Part of getting organized is to also check your coolant levels. Depending on your area, you will want to research what mixture of water to coolant will be best for protection for your engine. Also, you can have a qualified technician inspect your battery to ensure that you have the appropriate electrolyte levels for a proper start.

Many of us do not enjoy going out to start the car but being prepared sure does take the edge of this quite frequent process. In the name of conserving fuel, instead of warming the car in the driveway, you can immediately start driving and let the car warm up on the road. Obviously, for safety reasons, you should never leave your can running in the garage as the fumes from the exhaust are poisonous. Be safe and stay warm!