Make sure your car is ready for a safe trip to Lake Tahoe

Headed to Lake Tahoe for a ski weekend? Planning ahead is key and a quick check to see if your vehicle is equipped to handle the Sierra road trip is the first place to start.

Don't forget any of these winter essentials for your car.

The first steps are to check fluids, oil, windshield wipers and tire pressure. But you should also pack some additional accessories for the trip. Here’s a list of essentials courtesy of the Nevada Department of Transportation and Caltrans.

Food and bottled water:

You never know when or where you could break down or get snarled in traffic tie-ups. Non-perishable food like granola and energy bars and snack crackers are always good to carry along with several bottles of water. If there’s a long delay, you’ll be glad you had them.

Blanket and winter clothes:

Maintaining warmth is necessary for survival. An emergency or wool blanket is a winter vehicle accessories that will help you stay warm in case of a break down or spinout. Outdoor winter clothes like jackets, parkas, beanies and gloves are a must as well. They’ll keep you warm when you’re stuck or if you have to spend any extended period of time outside your vehicle.

Cell phone and flashlight:

Bring a charged cell phone and your cell phone charger for your vehicle. A flashlight with spare batteries can be used when changing a flat tire, adding oil or windshield washer fluid under the hood and when reading a map.

Winter rated windshield washer fluid:

During a winter storm, splash back from other vehicles can quickly make a windshield impossible to see through. This is not the time to run out of winter rated windshield washer fluid. This essential winter accessory will keep your windshield from becoming coated with a sheet of ice.


If you get snowed or bermed in, a small snow shovel will come in handy. It can help dig a parking place out of a snowbank in the morning at the ski resort and it can be used to dig the bermed vehicle out at the end of the day.

Ice scraper and snow brush:

CD cases are meant for storing CDs, not scraping ice. Yet for those who forget to bring an ice scraper and snow brush, CD covers can be used. Regardless, packing an ice scraper and snow brush is your best bet. It saves you time and keeps you dry. While you’re scraping, turn on on the windshield defrosters to help speed up the process.

Tire chains:

All vehicles, including those with four-wheel drive snow tires, should carry chains when traveling during snowy weather. If you don’t have chains in your possession, you may not be allowed to proceed. Here’s some good information on tire chains.

Jumper cables:

As car batteries age they become more susceptible to dying in cold weather. You or a fellow traveler may experience a dead battery in the parking lot. While many ski resorts offer free jumps to their patrons, having your own jumper cables could prevent a long wait.

Sand or kitty litter and tarp:

If you should get stuck, you can place it down for extra traction. A tarp is good to have to put down on the ground when putting on your chains.

Extra key:

Put an extra car key in your pocket. A number of motorists have locked themselves out of their vehicles when putting on chains and at ski areas.

Is your car prepared for its trip to Lake Tahoe?

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