The winter months are truly upon us. The mornings are dark and baby, it’s cold outside, but life is unforgiving and we still have to get up and go to work. If you think it’s tough on our bodies, then the falling temperatures have an even more detrimental effect on our cars, having to suffer the freezing cold 24 hours a day, and sometimes being covered in ice and snow. So with advice from windscreen maintenance experts, Shatterscreen, here are 10 tips to make sure you and your car reach wherever you’re going safely during the bleak midwinter.
- Get out of bed 10 minutes early. It pays to allow a little extra time in the morning to get your car free from ice and snow, to make sure that your vehicle is roadworthy and legal. Don’t let a few extra minutes of lying in bed come before your safety.
- Clear your windscreen thoroughly. Do not attempt to drive your car with any part of your windscreen obscured by ice or snow. Not only is it dangerous, it is also illegal. Do not use boiling water to get rid of ice on the windscreen; as such a rapid change in temperature from extreme cold to hot could cause the glass to crack. Use either warm or tepid water to melt ice and snow from the windscreen.
- Keep a de-icer and ice scraper handy in your boot. Spray ice-covered windscreens first with a suitable de-icer spray, wait for about 30 seconds or longer for the fluid to work, and then scrape away the melting ice with a suitable ice scraper. Make sure you use a plastic scraper to do this, not a compact disc or credit card, or other materials such as metal, as these could scratch the windscreen and obscure your vision when driving.
- Whilst you are spraying and scraping the windscreen and windows, turn on the air conditioning in your car. This will save you time and speed up the process of demisting the windows and will remove condensation from the interior of the vehicle.
- Don’t use windscreen wipers to remove ice or snow from the windscreen. The blades could have frozen to the glass, and will tear or rip when they are turned on. Lift the blades up to free them from the windscreen. Also, trying to clear heavy snow or stubborn ice from the windscreen by using wipers, could overtax their motors, causing them to breakdown. Ideally, windscreen wipers should be replaced every year as rubber deteriorates, but in the winter months, any wiper that is damaged will be unable to perform properly and should definitely be replaced.
- Clear any snow from the roof of your vehicle. If snow is left on the top, it could become dislodged by the motion of the car during driving and slide down onto the windscreen, obscuring your view as you drive and causing accidents.
- Don’t ignore cracks in your windscreen, as these will only get worse. During the winter season, ice will get into the cracks and expand, causing a crack to grow, spreading further over the windscreen and making it difficult and dangerous to see through.
- Keep your windscreen wash topped up. Correct windscreen wash contain an additive which prevents the fluid from freezing. A windscreen wash is especially vital at a time of year when roads have been gritted. Grit, other dirt and debris gets churned up by passing car wheels and will settle on the windscreen. Don’t use engine antifreeze as a substitute for the correct windscreen wash. It will damage the paint on your car.
- Don’t slam the doors on your vehicle. This is true at any time of the year, but especially so during the winter months. Vibrations caused by doors slamming shut could reverberate throughout the vehicle and cause the windscreen to crack, especially if it is already vulnerable because of a crack.
- The inside of the windscreen needs cleaning too. Condensation and misting can obscure a driver’s vision. Couple this with the low winter sun which can dazzle a driver at the best of times, and a dirty windscreen could spell disaster. Also, any cracks in the windscreen will be amplified by the low winter sun, and could lead to a driver not being able to see clearly, thereby causing accidents.
There are more breakdowns during the winter months in the UK than at any other time of year. By following these ten tips for looking after your windscreen, you’ll be looking after your car, and yourself, too.