This winter will be the coldest in 50 years. The ‘jet stream’ a 250 mph air current whizzing around the planet 7 miles above our heads is moving south; bringing arctic conditions with it. With these simple tips from Keith Michaels, we hope to keep you on the roads this winter.
Making sure your car starts
By far the most common cause of winter breakdown is a battery fault. The drop in temperature and increased demands from the lights, heating and wipers leave declines in battery performance unsurprising. A fault is best nipped in the bud before it can cause you further inconvenience.
If your battery is struggling to start your car it is best to replace it there and then. Old batteries (more than 5 years) are most prone to causing problems in winter and are best replaced before they do. Keeping jump leads in your vehicle is a must all year round; but they are most likely to be needed in winter.
Blankets will keep you warm and can you save time
No brainer. Its cold, blankets are warm; your partner will be thanking your forethought should your car breakdown. If cold weather is forecast you can place the blanket over your windscreen and spare yourself the hassle of clearing snow and ice in the morning, a quick spray of anti-freeze solution over the glass before applying the blanket will give you extra peace of mind.
De-icing your windscreen
If the weather catches you off guard, de-icing your car in a rush may only end up delaying you further. We’ve all done it, but it is a habit best avoided: pouring boiling water over your windscreen; whilst great at removing ice, the sudden temperature change is very effective at cracking glass. Spare yourself a replacement windscreen by using an ice scraper.
It is a cheap, tried and tested means of de-icing your car, not the fastest but definitely the safest. If you haven’t got and ice scraper a plastic credit card makes for a reasonable improvised substitute but don’t go using one you care about.
Thawing a frozen car door lock
WD40 sprayed once a week into the locking mechanism repels moisture and stops your lock from freezing up. If your lock has frozen a squirt of de-icer is a quick remedy.
If you haven’t got de-icer to hand, the most satisfying solution is to use a lighter to warm the metal teeth of your car key and insert it into the lock twisting as it thaws. A hair dryer is also up to the task should you be able to bring it to bear upon the offending lock.
If you have none of the above to hand, blowing into the lock will thaw it out, eventually.
Watch the video below for a quick lesson in how how not to unfreeze your lock.
Digging yourself out
A shovel is a necessity in your car, if you are tight for space a robust folding shovel will do the trick. Trying to dig a car out of the snow with your bare hands isn’t much fun. Keeping a pair of gloves, a towel and some clean clothes in the car will allow you to retain some comfort no matter how disastrous the attempts to get your car moving end up.
A large bag of sand or salt can be used to melt the surrounding snow. If you are a nutter and are attempting to use a RWD car the bags can be placed in the boot with the weight over the wheels in the vain hope of improving traction.
Emergency Brew Kit
Tea heals life’s ills. Having Icicles form on the end of your nose whilst you wait for the AA to turn up is not everyone’s cup of tea. A hot beverage will keep you and your companion’s morale high, stave off hypothermia and prevent any nasty instances of frost bite. Keeping a jet boil, plastic mugs, some bottles of water and your preferred tea making ingredients in your car will prepare you for any crisis. Chuck in some ready to eat meals and you’ll be dying for the relaxation of a breakdown.
(You can always make soup if you’re weird and don’t like tea).
Stop your windows steaming up
You can stop your windows steaming up with some silica crystal cat litter placed in an old sock. Leaving the package under the seat and on the dashboard will absorb the moisture in the air and prevent the build up of condensation.
If there’s anything you think we’ve missed feel free to add it in the comments below.