Tag Archives: winter driving

14 Essential Items for Your Vehicle Emergency Kit

Essential Items for Your Vehicle Emergency KitWinter officially arrives December 21st, so now is an excellent time to double check the contents of your vehicle emergency kit.

Don’t have a kit? Don’t feel too bad; according to an AAA survey, 40% of drivers don’t carry an emergency kit in their vehicles. But do take this opportunity to prepare for an unforeseen emergency.

To determine the items that should absolutely, positively be in your emergency kit, we surveyed several state transportation and emergency preparedness agencies as well as our friends at AAA.

There’s a clear consensus that your vehicle emergency kit should include:

  • Shovel
  • Windshield scraper and small broom
  • Kitty litter or sand (the non-clumping kind)
  • Flares and reflector
  • Tire chains
  • Jumper cables
  • Tow cable
  • Flashlight
  • Warm blanket(s)
  • First aid kit
  • Gallon of water
  • Non-perishable food
  • Cell phone adaptor
  • Extra set of clothes, including coat, hat, gloves and boots

It’s also a good idea to include a deck of cards or a board game to keep yourself occupied if you need to wait for help to arrive.

While the natural inclination is to store your kit in the trunk, ReadyWisconsin recommends that you carry it in the passenger compartment of your vehicle because the trunk could become frozen shut or inaccessible in the event of an accident.

If you become stranded, what you do or don’t do next could mean the difference between life and death. The ReadyWisconsin website provides valuable survival tips that could help save the lives of you and your passengers. Be sure to check them out.

Now that you’ve assembled an emergency kit, do a little prep work to help ensure you never need to use it.

Before you leave, confirm your route, get updated road conditions and check these items on your vehicle:

  • Lights and turn signals;
  • Battery;
  • Brakes;
  • Radiator fluid (antifreeze/coolant);
  • Heater/defroster
  • Ignition
  • Windshield wash (use a winter mix that provides freeze protection if you’re headed somewhere temperatures could drop below freezing)
  • Tires  (overall condition, tread depth and inflation)
  • Gas tank (be sure your tank is full)

Happy – and safe – travels from all of us at Oil Can Henry’s!

Valuable Resources:

17 Tips for Maintaining and Driving Your Vehicle in Winter Weather

iStock_000029634386XLargeWhether you’re headed over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house for the holidays or planning a family weekend on the ski slopes, ’tis the season for driving in snowy, icy and rainy conditions.

To ensure you and your passengers enjoy a safe trip, we’re sharing 17 important vehicle maintenance and driving tips from our friends at AAA.

We also recommend you read two informative and free AAA brochures: “How to Go in Ice and Snow” for tips on driving on icy and snowy roads and “Get a Grip” for tips on driving in rain and on wet pavement.



  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent your gas line from freezing.
  • Avoid using your parking brake in snowy, rainy and wet conditions. If it gets particularly cold, the brake can freeze in place.
  • Carry an emergency road kit. Your kit should include a snow scraper, shovel, gloves, flashlight and batteries, warning flares, jumper cables, water, food, extra clothing, first-aid supplies, a bag of cat litter or sand, basic tools, and a mobile phone and charger.
  • Don’t warm up a vehicle in a garage or other enclosed space.
  • Share your travel plans, especially if you’re traveling through isolated areas. Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return.



Spend a little time on your vehicle before your trip to ensure a safe, worry-free journey.

  • Check your tire pressure and tread depth. Having the right pressure and traction in winter weather is a must. Don’t mix radial tires with other types of tires.
  • Replace wiper blades. If your blades leave streaks or miss spots, it’s time for new ones. Also make sure you have enough washer fluid that won’t freeze in the reservoir.
  • Ensure the battery is working properly. Check all cable connections and make sure there’s no corrosion on the terminals. You may want to replace the battery if you haven’t done so in the last three to five years.
  • Check that all your lights are clean, bright and working properly. This includes your headlights, brake lights and turn signals. If your plastic lens headlights are dull or don’t provide enough light, consider a Headlight Restoration.
  • Check your antifreeze — both the amount of fluid and the fluid’s freeze protection level. Worn-out fluid may not protect against freezing or overheating and can lead to costly engine damage. Learn more about your vehicle’s cooling system and the benefits of Cooling System Flush service.
  • Have your vehicle inspected. Take the time to service your car before a road trip, especially if you’re close to scheduled maintenance.

Oil Can Henry’s Famous 20-Point Full-Service Oil Change is an exceptional value that includes a complimentary safety inspection to help keep your vehicle at peak operating efficiency. We check your lights, battery, wipers, brake fluid, air filters, PCV valve, and Serpentine Belt. We also check and fill your windshield wash, coolant, transfer case fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, differential fluid, and tires.

If you need a Cooling System Flush, Headlight Restoration or Automatic Transmission Flush, trust the trained technicians at your local Oil Can Henry’s. All our services meet manufacturer warranty requirements, so you don’t have to hassle with appointments and drop-offs at the dealership. Learn about the wide variety of preventive maintenance services we offer here.



Make sure you’re familiar with basic techniques necessary to drive safely in winter conditions. Specifically:

  • Stopping distances are significantly longer on snow, ice and wet pavement, so increase your following distance from the 3-4 seconds recommended for dry roads to 8-10 seconds.
  • Drive in the lane that has been most recently cleared and avoid making turns through areas with built-up snow.
  • Don’t use cruise control on slippery surfaces.
  • Brake gently; don’t pump the brake pedal.
  • If you find yourself in a skid, don’t panic. Look and gently steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.
  • Watch for frost. Cold night time temperatures can lead to frost on vehicles and on the roads. Slow down or brake gently when approaching bridges or overpasses, where frost is more prone to accumulate and create hazardous conditions. Also watch for shaded areas that could create black ice, especially during early morning or late night hours.


Safe travels — and Happy Holidays — from all of us at Oil Can Henry’s!

Is Your Vehicle Winterized? Check These 9 Things to Be Sure

Winter DrivingWinter is just around the corner, so it’s a good idea to take a little time now and make sure your vehicle is ready for the cold, and sometimes treacherous, driving conditions ahead.

“You can save money and avoid dangerous winter breakdowns by properly maintaining your vehicle,” explains Don Weber, Vice President of Operations for Oil Can Henry’s. Specifically, Weber recommends checking your vehicle’s:

  • Antifreeze. Over time, antifreeze breaks down and loses its ability to protect your engine against corrosion. If it has been diluted by water, it can lose its freeze and overheat protection. Check your vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and replace the antifreeze when it’s due. At the very least, have the freeze protection checked.
  • Battery. It’s a good idea to carry jumper cables, but it makes sense to check the condition of your battery and replace it if needed. Also check the battery terminals and cables to ensure the connection is tight and remove any corrosion.
  • Belts. Check your drive belts for cracks or fraying. Many of the newer multi-rib serpentine belts don’t show obvious signs of wear, so it’s best to replace them at the mileage recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
  • Headlights. About 80% of driving decisions are based on visibility. So, make sure both headlights are operational and providing sufficient light. If a headlight is burned out, replace it. If your vehicle has acrylic headlight lenses that have become hazy or yellowed, have them cleared with a Headlight Restoration service to increase visibility and light output.
  • Hoses. Check your cooling system hoses for cracks or leaks and for loose clamps.
  • Oil. Use the proper oil for your vehicle and follow the oil change schedule recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Using the incorrect cold weather viscosity can decrease gas mileage and cause excessive engine wear during startup.
  • Tires. Check the condition and pressure of your tires. Improperly inflated tires are unsafe and can reduce fuel economy.
  • Windshield Wash. If you live in a cold climate, make sure your windshield wash fluid doesn’t freeze by switching to a winterized fluid that provides freeze protection appropriate to your area.
  • Wiper Blades. Wiper blades wear out, so consider replacing them every six months or as needed.

You can do all of this yourself, or you can visit your local Oil Can Henry’s, relax in the comfort of your vehicle and enjoy a complimentary newspaper as our trained technicians take care of it for you.

Most Oil Can Henry’s service centers provide a free battery test as part of your service. Need a new battery? We proudly sell and install quality Interstate Batteries.

As part of your oil change service, most Oil Can Henry’s service centers will also test the condition of your antifreeze to ensure it’s adequately protecting your engine. If it’s time for new antifreeze ask about our Cooling System Flushwhich replaces 100% of the old antifreeze. A radiator drain and fill, in comparison, replaces just a fraction of the old fluid.

Safe motoring this winter from your friends at Oil Can Henry’s!

Brrr… It’s Cold Out There! Is Your Vehicle Winterized?

The recent cold snap – including a chilly 35 degrees in Los Angeles – is a good reminder to make sure your vehicle is ready for winter driving conditions.

During a recent television appearance, “The Car Coach” Lauren Fix shared valuable tips to help ensure you don’t find yourself stranded on the side of the road this winter.

Noting that 9 out of 10 vehicles on the road have something wrong with them, Fix emphasized the importance of proactively maintaining your vehicle. She specifically recommends checking your vehicle’s:

  • Battery. It’s a good idea to carry jumper cables, but it makes a lot more sense to check the condition of your battery and replace it if needed.
  • Coolant. Over time, coolant breaks down and loses its ability to protect your engine against freezing and overheating.
  • Headlights. About 80% of driving decisions are based on visibility. So, make sure both headlights are operational and providing sufficient light. If a headlight is burned out, replace it.
  • Oil. Use the proper oil for your vehicle and follow the oil change schedule recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer.
  • Wiper Blades. Wiper blades wear out, so Fix recommends changing them every six months and, if you live in a cold climate, using winter blades this time of year.
  • Tires. Check the condition and pressure of your tires. Improperly inflated tires are unsafe and can reduce fuel economy.

You can do all of this yourself, or you can visit your local Oil Can Henry’s, relax in the comfort of your vehicle and enjoy a complimentary newspaper as our trained technicians take care of it for you.

Most Oil Can Henry’s centers now provide a free battery test as part of our service. Need a new battery? We proudly sell and install Interstate Batteries.

Oil Can Henry’s will also test the condition of your coolant to ensure it’s adequately protecting your engine. If it’s time for new coolant, ask about our Cooling System Flush, which replaces 100% of the old coolant. In comparison, a radiator drain and fill replaces just a fraction of the old coolant.

If your headlights look hazy, yellowed or faded, consider Headlight Restoration, which can greatly increase headlight output and visibility and improve the appearance of the vehicle.

It’s also advisable to make sure you’re prepared for winter driving, which often requires navigating snowy and icy roads. We wholeheartedly recommend that you visit the AAA website, a great source for automotive knowledge, to check out the tips for driving in the snow and download “How to Go on Ice and Snow”, an informative guide that helps drivers become safer and more efficient in adverse weather conditions.