Once again, we are approaching this time of year. The crisp mornings, frosted windscreens, and frozen door locks were certainly not missed, but here they are again.
To help you get through these winter months, we put together a list of useful (and sometimes surprising!) tips to make your winter driving easier. What's more, there is no need to buy tons of different items - you will find all you need right at home!
12 car and van hacks that will help you survive winter
1. Get rid of foggy windscreen
In the winter months, frosty and fogged-up windshields are common. Did you know you can quickly remove the fog with a chalkboard eraser without causing any smudges? It works very well, and it fits in your glove box or centre console easily.
Making sure your vehicle's air recirculation is turned off can also help prevent a foggy windshield. Since the air in your car or van is already humid, this contributes to windshield fogging. Instead, use the fresh air intake option to bring in outside air. Dry air will help clear the fog quickly.
2. Fog-proof the windscreen
As I mentioned above, there are ways to get rid of fog on your windshield, but you can also prevent it from forming in the first place! Check out these tips:
- Apply shaving cream to the inside of your windshield, then wipe it off. You'll leave a thin layer of shaving cream behind, which contains some of the same chemicals as defoggers.
- Put cat litter or rice in a stocking or sock and leave it on your dashboard overnight. This will help absorb moisture that might otherwise accumulate on your windscreen.
- Let the cold, dry air enter your car a few seconds before you turn your vehicle off at night. Dry air will help your car dehumidify overnight.
- Do not store your water bottles or drinks in your van or car overnight, as this can contribute to a foggy windscreen.
3. Make sure you have socks in your glovebox
When the weather gets cold, having a pair of socks in your car or van can be really helpful! If you ever need to push your vehicle out of ice or snow, you can pull them on over your shoes. The socks increase traction and allow you to find your footing easier.
You can also use socks to cover your wiper blades overnight! All you need to do is raise your wiper blades and slip the socks over the ends. In the morning, your de-icing process will be much easier with the socks preventing ice from forming on the blades.
4. Defrosting frozen wiper blades
Make sure that you use cold weather-rated screen wash in the winter. You can use it to melt the ice that’s attached to your wiper blades in the morning. If the ice is thin enough, it can also be a quick way to defrost your entire windscreen!
5. A quick ice scraper
Need to get going but can't find your ice scraper? Use your kitchen spatula or a plastic card! You can accidentally snap the card whilst scraping the ice so it's best to use one you don't mind losing.
6. Parking Trick
Defrost your windshield naturally. Whenever possible, park facing east. As the sun rises in the morning, your windscreen will receive that extra bit of warmth. The remaining frost may be removed by your wiper blades, saving you time on scraping.
7. Defrost frozen locks and doors
Heat your key with a match or lighter if your lock is frozen. Then gently insert it in the lock to melt the ice - be careful not to burn yourself!
Drinking straws can also be used to defrost frozen door locks. Simply point the straw at the lock, and blow air into it. You'll have the door open in no time as the heat from your breath begins to melt the ice!
Finally, you can use a hand sanitiser to fix frozen doors and locks. Rub a layer of hand sanitiser over the frozen area or pour on the key before inserting it into the lock to melt the ice.
8. Don't let your doors freeze
Are you tired of unsticking frozen doors? With a bit of cooking spray, you can prevent them from freezing in the first place. Simply spray a little on the seals where the doors are - this serves as a "waterproofer", preventing water from seeping in and freezing your door shut.
9. Keep side mirrors from freezing
Covering your side mirrors overnight will prevent them from freezing! The mirrors can be covered with simple plastic shopping bags, ziplock bags, or whatever you can find. You can tie it or use a rubber band to hold it in place, and your mirrors will stay ice-free all night!
10. Quick fix for headlights
Winter months, when it is dark and snowy, are especially important for having bright, functional headlights. Simply apply a thin layer of toothpaste to your headlight covers if they need cleaning. After the toothpaste has sat for a few minutes, spray the headlights with warm water and polish them with a cloth. Finally, rinse with warm water.
With this toothpaste treatment, you will be able to remove the film from your headlights so that they shine brighter. There's no need to buy a special headlight cleaner product when this fix is much simpler and cheaper!
11. Un-Stuck Quickly
If it is snowing, store a bag or two of heavy cat litter in your boot or at the back of your van. If you get stuck, you can sprinkle litter under your tires! Your tires will have something to grip onto and you will have a better chance of escaping the snowbank.
Using your floor mats is another helpful tip for getting out of a snowbank. Simply place them in front of your tires. They will provide more traction for your tires and help you move your vehicle.
12. Prepare an emergency winter kit
The weather in the UK is unpredictable, with heavy snowfall expected at least in some areas even if we don't typically experience hard winters. Having emergency supplies in your car or van is a good idea, especially if you travel long distances. Keep a spare outfit with you in case you become stranded: coat, thick socks, a hat, gloves, scarf, snow pants and long underwear.
In case of a winter weather emergency, you should also keep additional supplies in your vehicle. Here are some recommendations:
- Warm blanket
- Charged power bank for your phone
- Hand and foot warmers
- Bottles of water
- Energy bars
With these helpful tips, you can face any winter driving challenge with ease.
What's your top tip for winter driving? Let us know!