Vehicle maintenance is obviously important year-round, but the winter is the worst possible time to be stranded on the side of the road. It is best to take your vehicle to a mechanic, but if you cannot afford one, there are some simple preventative measures you can take to reduce your chances of experiencing mechanical problems.
Among the first things you should check under your hood is your anti-freeze levels. My advice is to not procrastinate with this. Ask me how I know!
Next, you will want to check your battery. You will need a voltmeter for this. Check and clean the terminals to ensure they are free of corrosion.
Inspect your exhaust system for leaks. Any leaks will emit carbon monoxide which can leak into the car. Because people rarely have their windows open during the winter, there is less ventilation, and carbon monoxide poisoning can result in death. If you are checking the exhaust system yourself, make sure to use jack stands to support the vehicle properly. It is a much better idea to have a mechanic inspect this system.
Winter tires are of utmost importance. Earlier this month, I posted a few of this year's most popular winter tires. The post can be found here.
A good tip regarding gasoline is to try and maintain a full tank. You never know when or where you may get stuck. I know if I was stuck, I would like to be able to start the car periodically to keep the car warm.
The last tip is to be prepared for being stranded. If your car was stuck in the snow, what would you like to have in the trunk?
I keep the following items in my car in case of an emergency:
-food (mainly a few energy or chocolate bars)
-a charger for my iPhone
-a few sweatshirts or an extra jacket
-extra pair of shoes
-the obvious trunk accessories such as a jack, spare tire etc...
Of course, none of this matters if this kid finds your keys....
"I did it cuz it's fun to do bad things"