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13 Things You Need in Your Winter Car Survival Kit

Don't get stranded out in the cold make your own winter car survival kit.

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Build Your Own Winter Survival Kit

Build Your Own Winter Survival Kit

You probably already have a few of the items in this winter car survival kit in your garage but they, and few other things belong in the car! All you need to do is put them together in a box, in your car during winter for roadside emergencies. So equipped, you'll be ready to deal with most winter roadside breakdowns, and avoid getting frostbite or freezing to death in the process! This is particularly true for those of you that live or drive through rural, sparsely populated areas where being stuck in a blizzard can cost you your life. Here are more tips for surviving a car breakdown in winter.

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13 Things You Need in Your Winter Car Survival Kit:

Dont get stranded out in the cold make your own winter car survival kit.

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Candle-Powered Heater

Candle-Powered Heater

When your car is stuck or broke down in the winter, keeping it running to stay warm can be dicey. For one thing, you'll eventually run out of gas (though your car can run for a few hours on a full tank) and you'll need some fuel when help arrives to get your car moving again or when the weather clears up. But more importantly, snow and ice can block your engine's exhaust and lead to deadly levels of carbon monoxide in the car's cabin. So make sure you pack a simple candle-powered heater. All you need is a metal can, a candle and a lighter. A candle can make a surprisingly effective ad hoc heater in the confined space of a car. Check out another way to make a quick candle here.

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Small LED Flashlight

Small LED Flashlight

Make sure your car kit contains a small LED flashlight with fresh batteries. Flashlights are a godsend for changing flats, or to see under the hood to find any quick fixes. And once the sun sets, you'll want something to illuminate the interior of the cabin for writing down notes, phone numbers, etc. And in some cases, you can use the flashlight to signal oncoming cars or help a tow truck pinpoint your location.Find some to pick up at Amazon.

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Cell Phone Car Charger

Cell Phone Car Charger

Cell phones are welcome lifelines when your car is stuck, but they're only effective when they're charged. So keep a spare cell phone charger in your survival kit to keep your phone charged up. Here are some best practices for winter driving.Check out a USB charger for the car at Amazon that lets you plug in a variety of devices.

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Notepad and Pen or Pencil

Notepad and Pen or Pencil

When you call for a tow, there are likely additional phone numbers a dispatcher will give you, as well as a possible incident number. Or if you're in an accident, you'll need the other drivers license and plate number. If your pen isn't writing, it could be frozen, so warm it up between your hands. Or you can use a trusty pencil, too (though it might be harder to read in poor lighting).You can get some cheap notepads at Amazon.

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Portable Air Compressor

Portable Air Compressor

Powered by the 12v outlet in your car, a portable air compressor doesn't take up much space and can help fill low tires or more importantly fill a flat or low spare tire. Tire pressure-related tire failures are surprisingly common, so it's always a good idea to check your tires regularly. Watch this video to learn how to check your tire pressure the right way.Check out a portable air compressor like this one from Black + Decker on Amazon.

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Simple Tool Kit

Simple Tool Kit

There are a few roadside fixes that can be accomplished with some common tools. Pack a couple screwdrivers, pliers, an adjustable wrench and some duct tape. If you can get your car moving again and to a service station with a few Macgyver tricks, you may not only get home safe and sound, you'll save yourself the cost of a tow. Check out this guide to troubleshooting a car that won't start.

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Safety Absorbent

Safety Absorbent

A small bag of safety absorbent can help your car regain traction when you're stuck on ice. Cat litter also works, but floor sweep absorbent works better. (Sold at auto parts stores, it's sprinkled on garage floors before sweeping to absorb oil and grease.) Do you have 4-wheel-drive? Make sure you know how to use it, especially in winter. Brush up on the basics of 4-wheel-drive here.Pick up some safety absorbent on Amazon for less than $20.

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Jumper Cables

Jumper Cables

You should never count on another motorist to have jumper cables for you to borrowcarry your own. They're inexpensive and could mean the difference between a helpful motorist helping you get your car started or paying a tow truck to do it. Make sure you also know the right way to jumpstart your car.Learn how to jumpstart your car here.Check out a set of jumper cables available at Amazon for about $10.

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Foldable Shovel

Foldable Shovel

Digging out compacted snow from under the car or around the wheels is much easier with a proper shovel. Plus, using your hands, even in gloves, can cool you down fast. When you don't have room for a full-size shovel (and really, who does?), the next best thing is a foldable shovel. You can pick them up online or in military surplus stores. Maybe the best tip, though, is becoming a better winter driver. Learn our best winter driving tips here.Grab yourself a foldable shovel that will help out a lot more than just your car at Amazon.

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Fix-a-Flat

Fix-a-Flat

Sometimes, when you're lucky, a can of fix-a-flat (or two cans for larger tires on SUVs and trucks) can get you back on the road without having to put on your spare (which can be a real hassle in the cold). Remember, fix-a-flat isn't intended to be a permanent solution, just a stopgap measure until you can find a tire shop. But fix-a-flat has to be warm to dispense. So either keep it in the cab or warm it over the defroster before using. Learn more about fixing flat tires here. Plus: Check out a handful of other car additives that could save you from costly repairs.Pick up a can of Fix-a-Flat online at Amazon.

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First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

Keep the essentials in your carincluding spare medications if you need themto make sure you can stay alert while you're waiting. Brush up on your first aid skills so you're ready if the situation calls for something more than a bandage. Find a first aid kit at Amazon.

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Warm Hat and Gloves

Warm Hat and Gloves

Staying warm is the most important survival tactic when you're stranded in the winter. It's always a good idea to have an extra hat and gloves so you (or an under-clothed guest) can keep warm while getting your car out of a ditch, changing a tire or taking a look under the hood.

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Warm Blanket

Warm Blanket

It could be a while before help arrives, so you need to keep warm. A spare blanket will help you do just that. Keep in mind it's likely to get dirty, so choose an old comforter or quilt. Next, check out the top 10 things you should never, ever do to your car.

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Pack it All Up

Pack it All Up

Put everything into a sturdy box or plastic bin and pop it in the trunk or back seat. Hopefully you'll never need to use it, but you'll be thankful you have your winter emergency car kit if you do find yourself stranded.

Check out these things to NEVER do while driving.