The last few years have been trying, really trying. First we hunkered down and hardly got into our car, and then when things started to look like we could hit the road, bang – roads flooded, highways washed away and mudslides rained down. But we are Canadian, resilient and resourceful and grew up with the boy scout motto: Always be prepared. If we want to hit the highway, visit friends, go the outback or just enjoy the city, now is a great time to up your car accessory game. Kitting out your vehicle with useful winter car accessories will ensure a safer, more stress-free driving experience.
Best winter car accessories for the exterior
Windshield snow and ice removal are critical to safe, winter driving. If the thought of performing an awkward ballet in the freezing cold just to scrape the ice and snow from your car windshield sounds like a joyless task, then these accessories will save you some time and minimize the risk of pulling a muscle.
A windshield snow cover fits most passenger vehicles, SUVs, trucks, and vans, and some come with side mirror covers built-in. Covering your windshield also protects your wipers. Snow covers are made from rugged materials and are easily packable when not in use. Snow covers are available for the rear windshield, too. Canadian Tire has an affordable magnetic windshield cover.
Tip: Weather Network Hack: Cut a potato in half, rub on windshield the night before a frost and this will prevent the frost from sticking.
Mittens for your mirrors
If you are looking for something with a little pizzazz, these cute, side-mirror covers feature an adorable snowflake design. The covers have tabs that fasten inside the car to prevent theft. Your side mirrors will be ice/snow-free and the best-dressed on the block. Canadian Tire has a set with racing stripes.
For those with an affinity for snow removal/ ice scraping, the possibilities are endless in this winter accessory category. Telescopic poles, detachable scrapers, foam grips, pivoting heads, are just some of the brush/scraper features that will make the job easier.
While we are on the subject of windshields; a chip in the windshield can easily turn into a crack that becomes an even bigger crack during cold temperatures and temperature fluctuations. With plenty of winter still to come, inspect your windshield for chips and cracks now. Reliance Insurance customers who have comprehensive auto insurance take note: you can receive free chip repair* from Craftsman Collision glass repair service. Repairing a chip before it turns into a crack is the safer choice and it saves you money in the long run because you won’t be out-of-pocket for the deductible. And your car doesn’t even have to leave the driveway with Craftsman Collision mobile auto glass service. For windshield repair, check for a Craftsman Collision location near you.
Make room in your trunk for the following accessories that will help you get through winter, roadside emergencies:
- Portable air compressor
- A 12- volt powered, portable air compressor/tire inflator that provides fast tire inflation, built-in LED light for night time repairs, and a long power cord that will easily reach all tires is a worthy investment for peace of mind. Models with back-lit, digital pressure gauges allow you to input desired pressure and will make filling your tire a snap should you be stuck during inclement weather.
- A portable air compressor that has it all
- Emergency roadside kit
Every car should have a comprehensive emergency roadside kit that includes essential items to help you get through a variety of situations. A good kit should include battery booster cables, a flashlight, a shovel, work gloves, a blanket, reflective SOS signage, a first aid kit, water, non-perishable food, rope, rain poncho, etc. If you travel with your pets, don’t forget to include essential items just for them. There are emergency kits available for all kinds of scenarios and prices for every budget.
- Kitty Litter: Is a basic, inexpensive solution for those times your vehicle gets stuck in the snow. Without traction, your tires will continue to spin and your blood pressure may increase. Just sprinkle the kitty litter underneath the tires that need traction and give it another go. You should get enough traction and be able to drive out.
Best winter car accessories for the interior
This holiday season, take in a tour around residential, light displays. Add some comfort and joy to those family outings with the following accessories that will turn any cold, vehicle interior into a cozy, clean paradise.
- Warmers: seats and steering wheel: If you regret not springing for the heated seat upgrade when you bought your new car, don’t fret; Obusforme and other brands make 12-volt, external, heated seat cushions for all types of vehicles. Features vary, including 3-setting, remote control, auto-shutoff, high-density foam for comfort, etc. These heated seat cushions will fit in the back seat, too, and the kids will love it!
- If your morning coffee didn’t quite wake you up, then grasping an ice-cold, steering wheel ought to do the trick. Or, you could treat your delicate hands to a cozy, sheepskin steering wheel cover and never have to experience steering your car with that villainous, “ice circle” ever again.
- Remote starter: Having the ability to start your car before you are outside in the cold is possible for vehicles that either didn’t come with the option, or the upgrade was declined. There are many remote starter kits available offering a variety of features, including smartphone control, ability to start two cars, up to one-mile range, programmable trunk release, and so on. Professional installation is always recommended. Car Audio Now reviews the latest and best remote starter kits and is a great place to learn the ins and outs.
- Cellphone charger: It’s worth it to have one or two 12-volt cellphone charges/USB cables available for keeping you and your family’s devices charged during those residential, light display tours.
Keeping it clean
- Portable trash cans: We now have additional trash to deal with courtesy of disposable facemasks, gloves, and used hand wipes. Keep the clutter under control inside your car with a functional trash can.
- Interior/trunk sanitizing treatment: A sanitized vehicle interior has never been more important to help keep you and your family safe during the pandemic, flu, and cold season. Craftsman Collision offers DrivePur, an environmentally, anti-bacterial treatment that provides an invisible, long-lasting coating that actively protects interior surfaces from germs, viruses, bacteria, mold, and allergens. The treatment lasts up to six months.
Deck the Car
- Will this be the Christmas you finally get a bright red nose and some reindeer antlers a for your car? The holiday-themed vehicle decorations category is growing with fanciful décor. Try some Christmas light-bulb magnets to add some colour to the trunk of your vehicle. For a “high-tech” display, install car door projector lights. Have some fun with your rear windshield wiper with an elf’s arm, waving whenever the wiper’s in-use.
- Need some help with a chipped windshield? ICBC has deductible free chip repair is available if the chip meets these requirements.
Resources for Best Winter Car Accessories and other winter driving tips