Expert advice: try my car cold weather hacks on freezing mornings

cold weather hacks

Follow our tips below and this need not be you (Picture iStock/sonsam)

Standing outside on freezing cold mornings scraping ice off your car has to be down there with visits to the dentist and paying tax. All are necessary for very good reasons but that doesn’t make them enjoyable.

I can’t help you with your teeth or tax, but I can give you some pointers to make it easier to get your car ready for the road in the mornings.

Air-con’s your friend

Get in your car first thing on a freezing morning and you’ll notice it steams up almost instantly. This is because moisture from your breath condenses on the cold glass. But it’s easy to get rid of this using your car’s ventilation system. Here’s how.

First: turn the fan on full. Ensure the air flow is pointed at the windows and turn the heating up. Most importantly make sure the air-conditioning is turned on. This will dry the air. Turn the recirculation function off. That ensures dry air from outside is drawn in rather than simply pushing the moist air inside around. Opening your windows slightly will also help to disperse the moisture. Finally, be patient. It’ll take a couple of minutes but driving with just little portholes to peer out of (below) is against the law – not to mention incredibly dangerous.

Cold weather hacks

The towel trick

You can’t get away from clearing ice or sometimes even snow from your screen. But with this hack, getting busy with a scraper could be a thing of the past. It’s quite simple: when you leave your car at night, turn it off while the windscreen wipers are on. If you’re lucky, rather than parking themselves, they’ll stop across the screen. You can then slide an old towel beneath them.

In the morning, the towel will have ice on it but your screen should be ice free. Don’t forget: when the towel thaws it will probably become damp so it’s worth having a something waterproof you can store it in if you don’t have anywhere to leave it at home.

Plastic bags aren’t just for sandwiches

When it’s really cold, ice will form on your door mirrors. For that reason, they’re heated on many modern motors. If you don’t know how to work yours, it’s worth checking the user manual.

Cold weather hacks

The humble plastic bag can prevent this from happening (Picture iStock/MargoeEdwards)

If your car doesn’t have heated mirrors, you can prevent yours icing up with a simple plastic bag. It’s a great way of reusing old bags and of course you can keep on using them. Just tie them up so they don’t blow away. They’ll save you that little bit of extra aggravation that none of us needs first thing in the morning.

Let a wall protect you

There’s a hack doing the rounds that says park facing east. The idea is the rising sun will melt the ice on your screen. I don’t know about you, but in the winter I often leave the house before the sun has come up. And that’s assuming it’s not hidden behind a cloud all day! I think there’s a better hack than that.

Park next to a wall or building. The side of the car nearest to whatever you’ve parked by will stay frost free. And if you’re lucky, the windscreen and/or rear window won’t get iced up either. Much better than relying on something as unreliable as winter sun.

And finally…

It rarely gets so cold in the UK that car doors freeze shut. But it can happen, particularly if you park outside. It’s so easy to stop this happening. Simply get a cloth and put some oil on it. This can be the vegetable or olive oil you use for cooking. Then wipe it around the rubber door seal. Don’t put so much on that you get covered with it every time you go near the car. A wipe should be enough to lubricate the seal. Hey presto, no more sticking doors.

Damon Jowett is head of Service Delivery – Rescue for Green Flag

4 comments on “Expert advice: try my car cold weather hacks on freezing mornings

  1. Steve Michelle February 4, 2019 8:36 am

    Oil on the rubber door seals? Much better to use silicone spray.

  2. Eric Hayman February 4, 2019 10:39 am

    Here, in Bournemouth but two miles from the seafront, I regularly have ice on my car after a frosty night. I always back into my short driveway – to drive out forwards onto the road (see the Highway Code for not reversing out into the road). This leaves the rear window of my VW Fox ice free because it is only a couple of feet from the house’s front wall. But the windscreen will have a thick layer of ice on it. I have used the towel method and it works, although the wipers and de-icer are needed to clear the glass completely. I use de-icer and a scraper on the side windows and mirrors.

    The other problem after frosty nights is a thick layer of condensation (often frozen) on the inside of the windscreen. What suggestions for stopping that, please? I do not want to leave a door window down an inch, even if that would prevent it.

    Another trick for when parking on a short drive immediately in front of a house is to place a line of bricks or pavers from the wall of the house long enough so that the rear tyres hit the first reached brick or paver before the rear bumper of the car would touch the wall.

  3. Ray Stevens February 4, 2019 12:42 pm

    i remember about 18-20 years ago driving our Motorhome from Austria to Hamburg northern Germany on Motorways covered in Packed Snow and Ice, we managed quite comfortably the journey on pulling into services to fill up with Diesel cars entering were having to break out of ice coated cars, as their doors were frozen closed… Very Cold minus 14-20c interesting i thought.
    we were able to drive at 40mph quite safely without any undue problems some 600 miles without any problems on motorways or even in the City of Hamburg cars were being driven sensibly.
    What amazes me how ever is a having also driven over there in Blizzard conditions in Europe they don’t appear to come to a standstill yet here in the Uk everything Grinds to a Halt

    • J B Owen November 19, 2019 3:21 pm

      In the UK we don’t know when the snow will come or in what amount so we are never prepared, in Canada where I lived for many years they know within a week or so when the snow will arrive and how much so they are more than ready, the snow comes down and within days the roads are clear as is every side street and I suspect Austria and Germany is the same.

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