Your car puts up with a lot of abuse. You hardly wash it. You scrape it on curbs and ram it into bollards. There’s probably a coffee stain on the passenger seat, and you thought that transmission fluid was an urban legend, so you didn’t change it for ten years. But did your car complain? No – well it slipped out of gear when shifting, but mostly it didn’t complain. And last Christmas you rewarded it with… gasoline. that’s basically coal (don’t say a word, geology nerds)! This year, treat your car to some better Christmas gifts. It deserves it.
In the winter our roads are covered with ice and dirt. Worst of all, icy roads are treated with corrosive salt that your tires up against the paint. Subjecting your vehicle’s paint to those materials can be pretty tough. If you already have scratches in your paint, salt and dirt will touch the metal directly, accelerating rust even more.
You can try to keep your vehicle clean, which is important but somewhat futile. But you should also consider applying a wax coat to your paint. It serves as an additional layer of protection against the elements and makes your car shine.
A block heater is an important tool for keeping the engine block warm in winter. Even an hour of use before starting your vehicle can reduce oil viscosity and ease the strain on belts, hoses, and your fuel line. But many block heaters are not positioned in a way that keeps the battery warm, which is why you might consider a battery blanket.
Now, I used to think a battery blanket was akin to homeopathy. But then, during the bitter winter of 2014, my mechanic diagnosed me with a frozen battery. He said it was frozen solid like that goofy hominid from Encino Man. Okay, he didn’t say that, but it would’ve been funny. The point is that the chemicals within the battery are capable of freezing solid. When that happens, it needs to be replaced.
But, even if your battery doesn’t freeze solid, the cold weather will reduce its charge drastically. And, if you start up your car, hit the window defroster, heated seats, and radio, then drive five minutes to work, it’s never going to replenish its charge. If that’s your winter habit, your battery’s life is going to be dramatically shortened. So, give your car a battery blanket – they’re affordable and easy to use!
If you ignore my advice and don’t buy a battery blanket, you’ll definitely want to consider a jump start kit. With a small battery and two clamps, a jump start kit can boost upwards of 20 cars on a single charge (hopefully you don’t have to boost your car 20 times). Plus, if you notice another vehicle with a dead battery, you can help them out without lifting your hood.
A smart car adapter is a small dongle that attaches to your vehicle under the dashboard. For around $100 it can give you diagnostic information about dashboard lights, track your trips, track fuel fill-ups and more.
There’s a Pro version as well, which offers the ability to track your vehicle, so you don’t get lost when parking. Plus, it can even synchronise with sequential apps like IFTTT, so you could set up protocols on your smartphone for specific actions like a rule that mutes notifications while your car is in drive.
What Christmas gifts (if any) does your car deserve? You can search our parts and accessories pages to find some perfect stocking stuffers.