Driving expert shares defrosting tips ahead of arctic plunge

Snow and frost on car windscreen

A new weather warning for ice and snow has been issued by the Met Office for a majority of the UK, with temperatures reaching as low as -11C in places.

The arctic plunge could bring black ice, snow flurries and strong winds, which could have serious effects on motorists over the weekend.

Car expert Dorry Potter at National Scrap Car shares their top tips for defrosting your vehicle before heading out.

Don’t let air out of your tyres

Winter weather can make driving difficult and dangerous with dark mornings and evenings as well as potential ice and snow.

Winter tyres tend to need treads of around 3mm to be suitable for winter driving.

Despite rumours that it aids grip, motorists are not recommended to let air out of their tyres, this is unsafe.

Be sure your tyres are correct and safe, as this is where the biggest fines can come in: you can be charged £2,500 per tyre meaning it’s easy to rack up a £10,000 bill.

Prevent frost from forming with cardboard

The stress of heading out on time due to a frosty car affects us all as the temperatures drop, so it is important for motorists to make sure they are prepared ahead of time.

One of the best “hacks” for defrosting windscreens is to prevent the frost from forming on it in the first place. Using a windscreen cover will protect the windscreen from frost meaning that there is no need for scraping first thing. Simply place the cover on the windscreen in the evening and remove before heading off in the morning. Cardboard, an old towel or sheet can also work but risk being moved by wind, wet weather or just not being held in place properly.

Something that could also help is making sure your car is parked out of the shade and ideally facing the East, this means that when the sun rises in the morning it will begin to naturally defrost your car. Of course this is only useful for those that don’t commute super early before the sun has a chance to rise.

Never use boiling water on your windscreen

A hack that circulates every year is using warm water in a zip lock bag and rubbing it on the windscreen. Motorists are advised to be cautious when applying anything heated to their windscreen as the dramatic change in temperature can cause small cracks to appear in the glass which can cause the screen to shatter when another bout of frost arrives. Drivers should NEVER use boiling water either.

Similarly, homemade concoctions should be used with care too. Using items such as a potato or onion to clear frost could leave smears or a residue on the screen which in turn could reduce the driver’s visibility, making it just as dangerous as frost to drive. It may be more sensible to stick with a deicing spray instead.

Check your antifreeze

A vehicle’s antifreeze/coolant level should always be at the maximum recommended level throughout the whole year. The purpose of antifreeze and coolant is not only to stop the water in your engine’s cooling system from freezing during the winter by lowering the freezing point of the water, helping your engine block to maintain an even temperature, it is also vital for protecting your engine from corrosion, aiding heat transfer and preventing rust and scales from building up.

Water expands when it freezes, so without antifreeze to prevent this from happening, you could cause damage to your car’s radiator and other pricey and essential engine components such as the head gasket.

1 thought on “Driving expert shares defrosting tips ahead of arctic plunge”

  1. Kevan Chippindall-Higgin

    I start the car, turn on the heated rear screen and scrape the front and sides. By the time I am done, the rear screen is clear and off we go. It takes an extra 5 minutes and should be part of basic route planning. I am unclear which part of this is beyond so many people, but if it is, should they actually be allowed to drive at all?

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