Winter car hacks

Motoring 2019-11-28
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Check out our winter car maintenance tips to keep you safe on the road.

Icy mornings, more rain and less daylight are things we all experience during the winter months and these factors can affect our driving. But don’t worry, our handy tips will help you stay safe and on top of things during the bad weather.


Defrosting your car the easy way

Leaving your engine running with all your heaters on while making your morning brew not only wastes a huge amount of fuel, but is also bad for the environment. Instead of doing this, turn on your wipers on to the fastest setting, then pour warm (not hot or boiling) water over your windscreen and other windows, then use a towel or squeegee to remove the water.

Top tip – If you really don’t want the hassle of having to defrost your car in the morning then why not buy a car cover?


Scrub your lights with toothpaste

Visibility is even more important in winter, so make sure your lights are as bright as they can be.

If they are starting to look a bit dull or are still dirty after being cleaned, toothpaste can get them that little bit brighter. Just like with your teeth, toothpaste acts as a mild abrasive removing stains and buffs out the surface it’s used on.

Using a damp cloth or tea towel, add a bit of toothpaste and firmly rub the surface of your headlight in small circles - keep adding water and toothpaste as needed. Each light can take roughly five minutes to clean depending on its condition, so it definitely pays to be patient.


Carry an emergency kit

Whenever it snows in the UK, there’s always an increased risk of traffic jams and accidents, potentially leaving us stuck in our cars for longer than we’d like.

Having a few essential supplies tucked away in your boot can really be a life-saver. Here’s a handy list of things we recommend you keep in your car over winter:

  • A warm blanket or sleeping bag
  • Folding shovel
  • Ice scraper
  • Mechanically powered torch
  • Power bank and phone charging lead
  • Screenwash
  • Lots of snacks – nuts, protein bars and chocolate
  • Wellies
  • Jump leads

You’ll never know if/when you’ll need this so as the old saying goes “Better safe than sorry.”


Put a sock on it

A spare pair of socks have more uses than just keeping your feet warm…

Anyone who has ever helped push a car uphill in snow knows how hard it is to keep their balance and not slip after every step. Putting socks over your shoes will reduce the chance of sliding by providing increased traction.

Another use for your old socks is that you can put them over your windscreen wipers to stop them freezing to your windscreen, saving you precious time the next morning.


Keep it clean

No one wants to clean their car in winter and you might even think it’s pointless because it’s going to get dirty again so quickly.

However, did you know that all the salt that’s used to grit the road is corrosive to your vehicle's bodywork? If it’s allowed to build up over a long period, rusting will occur and end up costing you more than £5 at the car wash.


Check for chips

Chips in your windscreen, no matter how small they may seem, could be a big problem in winter if you don’t have them fixed. The cold weather can mean that the smallest chip could crack, causing issues with vision and potentially rendering your car unroadworthy.


Fill up your fuel

You should never be driving around on empty, no matter what time of year it is, but it’s especially important in winter as delays are more likely, more fuel is needed to heat and de-ice your car and situations are potentially more dangerous if you do get caught out.

The general rule of thumb is to always have a quarter of a tank and plenty of oil.

Hitachi Hints and Tips is intended to be informative and interesting. It does not constitute financial advice, and you should always do further research when making any financial decisions. All information was correct at date of publication.

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