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Winter Car Kit Checklist

21st December 2023

Driving in winter requires preparing your vehicle for difficult driving conditions such as ice, snow and frost. Keeping safe on the roads during winter typically includes seasonal safety checks, especially before you set off on long journeys. In addition to safety checks, and driving tips, there are also essential items you should make sure to keep with you this winter that can help you prepare for unforeseen situations that winter driving can bring. 

In this guide, we share our must-have items for your winter travels. 

What to include in your winter checklist 

Winter Tyres

Winter tyres are designed differently from summer tyres. They provide enhanced stability on slippery surfaces and work best in low temperatures, ice, snow and thawing conditions to help vehicles and motorists drive safely. We recommend that you switch to winter tyres when temperatures drop to a consistent average of 7°C or lower. Find out more about winter tyres here.  

Ice Scraper

Ice scrapers are inexpensive, but are the most effective method of clearing your windscreen from ice and snow for better visibility during the winter. We advise not to use your windscreen wipers to remove ice as they can easily stick to the windscreen, which can cause an electrical malfunction. You should also avoid using boiling water on a frozen windscreen as this can lead to windscreen damage and become more costly to fix in the long-run. 


During winter, it is not unusual for routes to be closed or blocked off due to difficult weather conditions, road closures or accidents. For this reason, we advise having a sat-nav in your vehicle to help recalculate your route automatically. We also recommend planning your route in advance, paying attention to motoring news and weather forecasts to ensure you are as prepared as possible.  

If you don’t have a sat-nav, a smartphone can work just as well. Planning your route ahead of time on a trusted maps and directions app can allow you to save time. If you’re concerned about limited signal or losing connectivity, you can always pre-download the route in advance. 


Winter is the darkest time of year, so in case of an emergency or a breakdown where lighting is limited - such as a country road,  it is important that you can see what is happening around you. Although most smart phones have a torch, keeping a torch with you for additional lighting when exiting a vehicle or checking for damage can not only help with visibility but help to keep you safe too.  

Jump Leads 

A flat battery is likely to occur more in the winter. Keeping jump leads or a battery booster pack in your vehicle can come in handy when your car suffers a breakdown.  

Snow Shovel or Spade 

Whilst most roads are gritted and maintained in winter, on some quieter country roads, you may need to manually remove snow. That’s why carring a folding spade or snow shovel in your boot is a great addition to have on hand when driving in the winter.  

In-Car Phone Charger

As most breakdowns occur in winter, it is important to ensure that you can contact others in an emergency. Keep an in-car phone charger in your vehicle so that you can charge your battery whilst driving or parked-up. 

Keeping Warm

Your car will provide warmth when you are driving. However, if you happen to breakdown and need to exit your vehicle, keeping warm is  essential. To keep your battery healthy, you should try not to run your heating or any other electrical items when the engine is off, so keeping a spare set of warm clothes and a blanket in your boot for use in an emergency is recommended.  

For more winter driving advice, contact your local Merityre Specialists branch or book in for a car service to ensure your vehicle is safe on the road this winter.