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.
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 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.
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.
Deal with a frozen door
It rarely gets so cold in the UK that car doors freeze shut. But it can happen, particularly if you park outside. Luckily, it’s so easy to stop this from 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.
If your door won’t shut in frosty weather, simply pour warm water (not boiling) on the exterior of the door, concentrating mainly around the handle area. This helps de-frost the internal cables in the door which allows the door to latch closed.
Damon Jowett is head of Service Delivery – Rescue for Green Flag