Welcome to Winter Edition of Tutorial Ninjas! (notice the different theme?) In order to kick off this winter season-which for some is a little late- we are going to share with you some cheap winter solutions to your survival on the road!
Lets first look at winter at a glance. Words that relate to winter are: cold, ice, snow, car crash. Ok, maybe I exaggerated? Here’s a list of some items you can buy, and their competitors. Save some cash in this time of economic struggle! All prices are compared to common hardware store retail prices.
Get a Grip – On Ice
If your car is stuck in an ice patch, sand is the ultimate solution. The goal is to completely surround your cars tires that have lost grip, in sand. Then when you go in reverse (or forward- but most often used for reverse), your tires will get just enough grip to move your car out of its stuck position. A 50lb bag of sand at a hardware shop will cost you around $5 + tax.
If you ran out of sand, another solution is to use (my personal favorite- and what saved me today when stuck in an ice patch)… 20 Mule Team Borax! Borax is actually a multi-purpose cleaner and laundry booster. It has similar properties to sand, however might cost a bit more, while receiving less. A 76oz box of Borax (which converted to lbs is only 4.75 lbs), costs about $4. It might not be a cheap solution to sand, however in a time of need- its a great sand substitute! (You also gotta love the fact that a ‘team of 20 mules’ are going to help you out of an ice patch- after all, I drive a Mustang.)
Hot as Ice – Just Melt It!
If you have some time to spare, and believe me- people will, when they realize they cant get out of their driveway- then melting the ice is another solution. It is most often marketed that consumers buy name-brand (or purpose specific) items. For instance, every retailer you go, will be selling 10 lb bags of “Ice Melt” (which is often Calcium Chloride and Potassium Chloride). They use these chemicals because they reduce the potential damage to cause to your grass. One of these bags (10 lbs) will cost you at least $20. Simple solution: Stop throwing rock salt on your grass!
Whats the cheap solution? Well- you could buy a marketed bag of “Rock Salt” which is also made to melt ice, but that will cost you about $10 for a 40 lb bag.
The best solution? Buy yourself an 80lb bag of (rock) water softener salt for $7. This can be found at most anywhere: Lowes, Home Depot, or Walmart (and many other places). You might not be able to find an 80lb bag, but they also sell 40lb bags of water softener salt (also called Solar Salt) for $4. Melt the ice, and keep it away. This rock water softener salt also provides enhanced traction (because when its crushed it will have similar features of sand).
Non-Monetary Solutions – Its all about technique!
Sometimes, things in life can’t have a price on them. You cant spend any money to stop them, so you have to use technique to prevent them. Winter driving technique- lets recap some of it!
- Drive Slowly and Cautiously! Instead of driving 5 over (or more), drive the speed limit. Pay attention to the road. Keep at least a single cars distance from the car in front of you. There is no way to control your car on ice. Once you lose control, its hard to regain. That brings us to the next bullet…
- Taking control of your car when it skids out of control (not effective on ice- lets say… no technique will work on ice) is something all drivers should practice (in an open lot). The tip is, steer your car in the direction of the way you are skidding. In simpler terms, point your front tires where you want to go. Avoid using the break, however if you need to, then apply them gently.
- Use a low-gear when driving on weathered roads. If there is snow or ice on the road, then put your car into a gear like 2 or 1. They are commonly found on automatic car shifters, listed as D3, D2, and D1. Putting your car in a low gear forces the transmission to hold back the wheels from spinning. Think of it as a more “direct-drive”. You can try this out if your at a stoplight on a hill, put your car into D2 and release the break. The car will not roll back.
So, we have covered quite a few things. Monetary and non-monetary winter road solutions. Now, we would love to hear what you have to say? Do you have any economical, or free winter driving solutions? If you do, we would love for you to share them with us in the comments! Happy Holidays, and wish you all a safe winter, and driving!