The cold weather is creeping upon us, so we’re providing our best ‘do not do this’ tips to keep yourself and your car safe this winter.
Never pour boiling water on a cold windscreen
We know that the temptation to pour boiling hot water on a frozen-over windscreen can sometimes be all too powerful but please, for the love of God don’t do it! Even when you are running late! Glass is very reactive to temperature changes so, if the glass is already cold, the hot water makes it quickly expand and the cold air causes it to quickly contract again. This process is likely to cause the glass to crack, especially if you already have cracks and small chips in your windscreen.
Instead, keep a can of de-icer and an ice scraper in your glovebox and set the blowers onto high heat A/C on the windscreen. Yes, it’s a long process, especially on thick ice but it’s the safest route. Although it might mean you need to get up and out of the house ten minutes earlier than usual. If you really are in a rush, try filling a watering can with lukewarm water and carefully pouring over the iced-up areas.
Be sure to make sure your windscreen is fully de-iced as driving without a full view of the road ahead is dangerous and illegal.
If your wipers are frozen on, give them time to defrost
We’ve seen our fair share of damaged wiper blades at CCM. It is common for wiper blades to become stuck to your windscreen, but we have a few words of warning.
Don’t try to pull them off the windscreen as you could damage them and don’t try to switch them on straight away as it could burn out the motor or scratch the windscreen.
Our tips are the same as above, stick with the tried and tested de-icer and ice scraper method.
Don’t drive in a snow-covered car
We don’t suffer from a great amount of snow in the UK, especially here in the southeast but it’s still worth mentioning for the odd few days that we are snowy.
- All snow must be removed from your car. The roof, windscreen, boot area – everywhere! As you are driving large clumps of snow can slip off and could cause visibility issues for yourself and other road users.
- Winding your window down isn’t the best way to clear built-up snow and can turn the inside of your car into a snow globe! Instead, wipe it off with your hand.
- Be careful around snowdrifts and don’t just drive into them hoping for the best or you may hear a loud crunch from your front bumper.
Our top tip for snow-covered cars – your old faithful dustpan brush! Keep a soft-bristled dustpan brush in your boot so you can easily sweep away snow.
When it comes to actually driving in the snow, make sure you accelerate gently and get into a high gear as soon as possible. High gear, low revs is what we’re looking for! Take your time and remember to be gentle on the pedals at all times.
Don’t leave your keys alone in the ignition
Yes, sitting in your car while it defrosts can be boring, but it’s much better than the alternative. You hear on the news each year about drivers leaving the keys in the car whilst defrosting and opportunistic thieves jumping in and driving off. We’ve also heard of people accidentally locking themselves out of their own cars whilst doing this.
And don’t leave your engine idling
Leaving your engine idling for a long time won’t do your car’s health any favours. Your car relies on lovely warm oil circulating and lubricating parts. When your car is idling on your driveway for twenty minutes while you finish your cornflakes, you are putting strain on it as the oil isn’t as warm as needed. Your oil will get up to the optimum temperature much faster when you are actually driving your vehicle.
Keep your screenwash topped up
Did you know that it is illegal to drive your car without screenwash? This is a small but vital part of driving safety so don’t forget it! Wet winter roads are really good at throwing up dirt and grime onto your windscreen making it difficult to see, especially when the sun is shining.
When topping up your screenwash, make sure you pick one that works in below-minus temperatures.
Our other top tips include:
- Tap off snow and dirt from your shoes so your pedals and footwells don’t become slippery
- Keep de-icing equipment in your car so you are prepared for the cold weather
- Check your tyres regularly and perhaps invest in some winter tyres if you do a lot of driving
- Regularly top up your levels under the bonnet
- Check your battery – if your car isn’t starting as quickly as usual you may be in need of a new battery. The cold weather also makes it harder for the battery to power up.
- Check your lights are all working properly