Here’s the second part of my winterization method for the Volvo XC90. Winterization can be important if you live in areas that get snow and freezing weather. It can also be important if you travel a lot on desolate highways or carry family on extended trips through the mountains, etc.
If you missed it, check out part one of my XC90 winterization post.
When Winter rolls around you’ll want a decent scraper for your windshield. Do the world a favor and get a combination brush and scraper so you can brush the snow off your XC90 instead of having it all blow off on the highway, creating unsafe/whiteout conditions for drivers behind you.
Also, a small shovel is a good thing to carry in case your car gets snowed in and you need to dig out around the doors or wheels.
In most areas, using spikes on your tires while on a public highway is against the law. Yet there may still be a time when you need them to get up (or down) an icy private driveway or out of a similar situation. The solution: Removable spikes for your XC90. These provide enough temporary traction to get you up an icy incline or keep you from sliding down one uncontrollably. So, if you can’t have spikes on public roadways, you can at least have temporary spikes to use on private driveways and private roads – or in an emergency situation. If you have trouble finding them locally, you can always try getting them on a site like AliExpress.
A NOTE ABOUT TIRES SPIKES: Volvo specifically mentions in the 2004 XC90 owner’s manual that you must be certain that any spike straps you install on your XC90 do not interfere in any way with the rotation of your tires or the operation of your brakes. There is only a certain amount of space between your inner rim and your caliper and if your spike strap makes contact – it won’t be a good thing. Choose accordingly.
Nobody wants to be stranded in their XC90, and if they do, nobody wants to be unprepared. So, it’s a good idea to keep some warm blankets (enough for as many passengers as your car usually holds – don’t assume you’ll be alone when you get stranded) and even some hats, gloves and scarves in your Volvo should you get stranded in Winter. And, don’t assume your XC90 is what will get you stranded. If you are on a highway and an accident ahead of you causes you to be stuck for hours on-end, it may be important for you to conserve gas by turning your car off. That means no heat.
Kitty Litter/Cat Sand
Nobody is trying to convert you into a cat person, here. But it may be a good idea to keep a bucket of kitty little in your car for extra traction if you need it. Keep a small scoop or child’s beach shovel in the bucket to help you get it out and spread around. It may also make you a hero to someone who is trended, too.
Pro Tip: Kitty littler can also be used to soak up and otherwise contain fluid spills if you have an accident or come upon one.
Food and Water
If you’re stranded for any length of time, you’ll probably want some food on-hand. Avoid foods that can freeze and try to have foods that are high in protein and will keep you full for as long as possible. The ideal food in this case is a protein bar. The specialty ones that you get from health food or supplement stores are best for this as they. often contain less sugar and salt and far more protein which will satiate you for longer. If you are truly stranded, you’re almost certain to eat your food supply faster than you should. I suggest choosing a flavor of protein bar that you dislike so that you won’t eat it until you’re really hungry. Otherwise, there are some Canadian Arctic rescue teams that have some advice for you.
Also pack some water. It’s heavy, but there are some solutions like boxed water or carrying water purification tablets in case you need water from a river or stream. But if you’re only driving on the highway and it’s unlikely you’ll be stranded for any length of time, just bring some boxed water or water bottles that are ¾ full (water expands when it freezes, so only fill bottles this much)
Your emergency kit really depends on where you drive during the Winter. A simple to-and-from work schedule probably means you need only a simple first-aid kit. If you’re taking your XC90 into some remote areas, then there are some other considerations to be made.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
Your XC90 has been designed to offer superior traction, stability and safety. That doesn’t mean you won’t be in an accident at some point. If it’s going to happen, Winter is a likely time for it. So, it’s a good idea to review your insurance coverage to make sure you have adequate protection in case the unexpected happens. Also, no matter how good you are at driving behind the wheel of your XC90, some idiot can always lose control at the most inopportune time and leave your beloved Volvo with some very unwanted (and expensive) damage.
This post is aimed toward those of you who mostly drive your Volvo XC90 to and from work or on short trips where it’s unlikely you’ll be stranded for long. If you’re more the adventurous type, then read Popular Mechanics has some important emergency preparedness tips for your car.
Got any other idea for winterizing your XC90? Send me a message and let me know.