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Here’s How I’ll Midwest Winter Prep My Honda Civic This Weekend

Taking an hour out of your weekend to make sure your car is ready for winter (and a winter emergency) can pay off big time.
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There were many foundational things I had to learn when I moved to the Midwest a little over a decade ago, and some of the most crucial bits involved preparing for winter weather. How to prep, when to prep, and most importantly, not forgetting to prep. So, because my life is a never-ending party full of excitement, that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend.

Central Indiana gets pretty darn cold from December to April, but it doesn’t get nearly as much snow as its neighbor to the north (Michigan). We lived in Southwest Michigan for a couple of years and had to deal with lake-effect snow and that totally sucked. Luckily, Indianapolis has none of that stuff.

Still, once temperatures start hovering around the 30s and staying there constantly—meaning winter is here to stay—I make sure to start prepping my house and most relevant to you, my car. While my wife and I work from home, we’re still out on the road constantly and it’s vital to be ready in case something goes sideways. Pun intended.

Oh, also, this blog isn’t some preparedness list that you should follow to a T, nor is it prepared by a professional safety advisor or survival expert. Nope. I’m just telling you what I plan on doing this weekend to make sure my family is a wee bit safer on the road over the next few months.

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The Bag

My roadside emergency kit lives in a bag in the trunk of my 2012 Honda Civic. This is our only car, so I only have to have one kit. Whenever I’m driving a press car I simply throw my bag in the trunk of it to make sure I’m prepared in case something happens while I’m driving a different car. This is what I keep in it:

Because I’ve had most of these items for a long time, all I need to do is make sure that they’re still in good shape and nothing has been lost or damaged throughout the year. This is especially important for the jumpstart pack and lights. This weekend I’ll be pulling those out of the bag and plugging them in or replacing their batteries to make sure they are good to go when I need them.

TLC

I hate to admit that I rarely take the time to properly love on my Civic throughout the year. Yes, I keep the exterior and interior clean thanks to a monthly membership to my local car wash, but I don’t ever handwash it, wax it, or do much else besides stay on top of its regular maintenance.

For this reason, I also take the time to show the car some TLC when I prep for the winter season. I pull the mats out, take out the vacuum tools and go into all the nooks and crannies, grab the steam cleaner and give the seats a pass, and make sure all the windows are spotless inside and out. I try to take out whatever gunk the car accumulated over the year before winter gunk moves in.

This year I’ll be going a step farther, however, as I’ll also be replacing my windshield wiper blades. My current ones are about two winters old and they’re starting to show some streaking during heavy rain. This means they’ll definitely struggle with slush and stuff. Also, I’ll be refreshing my headlight housings and headlight bulbs themselves. The housings have gotten quite foggy this year, and I can’t even remember when the bulbs were replaced (maybe never), but their performance is mediocre now.

Some of you may be wondering about winter tires, but I’m very fortunate to not have to worry about that. A combination of not driving this car a whole lot and rotating in and out of press cars (with winter tires) through the season makes that less of a concern.

All in all, I’ll probably spend around $100 bucks getting my car in what I consider to be ideal shape for the winter. It may not be everyone’s idea of the perfect solution, but it works for me. If anything, I just hope this blog serves as a reminder that winter is around the corner and you should prepare for it—however that may look on your end.

Email the author at jerry@thedrive.com