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Winter Driving Hacks that Every Driver should know

Updated on November 6, 2016

Prevent doors freezing shut

There can be nothing more annoying than going to your car on a cold winter morning to find that the door is frozen shut and pulling on the door handle might eventually break it off completely.

To prevent doors freezing, in advance of cold weather, spray some furniture polish around the rubber door seals. The silicon in the polish will repel water and prevent it freezing the door seals closed.

You can also buy specialist silicon sprays for this job, but spray furniture polish will work just as well.

Stop screenwash from freezing

The best way to prevent screenwash from freezing is to use a good quality additive which you can pour into the washer bottle. Keep it topped up regularly.

And All Seasons screenwash should do the trick and there are lots to choose from here. Some even protect as low as -26'c.

If you've failed to do the above and you arrive at your car to find the washer bottle is already frozen, pour some warm (not boiling) water into the bottle to melt the ice.

NEVER pour warm or boiling water directly on the windscreen/windshield or any glass as it's likely to crack.

Don't want to buy screenwash? Then add some isopropyl alcohol to the water instead to stop it freezing.

Cover wing mirrors with bags to stop them freezing

Covering a wing mirror with a bag can stop them from freezing
Covering a wing mirror with a bag can stop them from freezing

This hack is particularly good if your car doesn't have heated door mirrors.

Simple cover the door mirrors with a couple of plastic backs and secure with a couple of rubber bands. It will stop moisture forming on your mirrors (and turning to ice) and make it must easier to get your car safely ready to drive.

Cover your wiper-blades with socks to prevent them freezing to the windscreen

If wiper-blades stick to the screen and you try to pull them off you might spilt the rubber. Even worse, if you turn the wipers on and they're stuck to the screen you might burn out the motor or cause expensive damage to the mechanism.

Place socks over the wiper-blades the night before to stop them from sticking to the screen. Remove in the morning and leave on your radiator to dry during the day, ready for the next evening.

Credit cards make great emergency ice scrapers

Iced up screen but no scraper? Then reach for the plastic!

Credit cards make great emergency scrapers and they're pocket sized so easy to carry.

Use floormats/carpet to get you out of snow

Stuck in snow? The simply place your car floormats or carpets directly in from of the driving wheels and use them to gain traction. You might end up having to buy some new mats, but you'll get out of the snow and on your way again.

Defrosting frozen locks

If your locks are frozen and you can't put the key in the lock, heat it with a pocket lighter.

How the metal part of the blade over the lighter (don't burn the plastic) and you should find that the key goes straight in.

Swap fuses when you're in trouble

Knowing where you fuses are and which fuse protects which circuit can be very useful in the event of something failing
Knowing where you fuses are and which fuse protects which circuit can be very useful in the event of something failing

So you're driving along in the rain and all of a sudden your wipes just stop working. Or you're freezing cold and the heater packs up.

These faults might point to something serious, but it's more likely that a fuse has blown. Of course, a blown fuse might point to a more serious problem, but you can always try swapping a fuse to check. If your wipers use a 30amp fuse (it will have 30A printed on it) then try swapping if for another fuse from something on your car that you don't need to get you home. For example, you can swap the blown fuse from your headlamps for the fuse for your heater. Or the fuse for your wipers with the fuse for your central locking.

Once you get home, you can see professional advice. Never replace a fuse with another of a higher amperage, but it's perfectly safe to try a lower amperage fuse.

Even better, carry a set of spare fuses in your car.

Finally, you can't always see if a fuse has blown - it's not always obvious as hairline cracks can be impossible to see with the naked eye. To properly check a fuse you should you a 12v voltmeter to check continuity.

Always carry a spare wheel (and buy one if your car wasn't supplied with one)

An ever increasing trend if for car manufacturers not to supply you with a spare wheel. Instead, they give you an aerosol system to inflate your tyre in the event of a puncture.

I hate these systems. Sure, they might help you if you get a puncture, but they are absolutely useless if your tyre splits, de-laminates or comes off the rim. You can guarantee that if this happens you'll be in the middle of nowhere and the breakdown truck is going to be hours away.

You can buy a steel wheel and tyre for around £60/$90USD and even less second hand which is cheaper than most breakdown insurance policies. Just make sure it's suitable for your vehicle.

Always carry a spare wheel and toolkit/jack and throw that stupid can of aerosol away. You'll thank me later.

First, spray some de-icer into the lock and around the lock mechanism.

If you have a standard key you can warm the blade of the key and try to put it in the look. To do this, hold the metal part of the key on a radiator or carefully warm it using a lighter. Be careful not to damage any plastic on the key (which might contain electronic). You should find that the lock opens.

Don't force the lock as you might break the key.


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