Many drivers have been busy these days already early in the morning to scrape free their cars.
A few tips and tricks will help save time in the process.
Also belongs to some now checked: How to winterize your car.
You can find more car topics here
Autumn brings nightly frost sooner than you would like. For drivers this means: Good nerves are needed and above all more time in the morning, otherwise it can become dangerous and expensive.
The frost is also a reminder: winter is approaching, and it brings with it even more pitfalls. Many aspects play an important role in getting fit against snow and cold – the right choice of winter tires, winterized equipment and also some technical points should not be neglected when preparing your car.
First step: put on winter tires
The first thing to do is to swap the summer tires for the winter tires. From October onwards, the first snowfalls can occur sporadically. There is no general obligation to fit winter tires, but "in the event of black ice, slippery snow, slush, ice or frost" winter tires must be mounted, writes the ADAC.
Before you put on the winter tires, however, take a close look at the profile. Although the law prescribes a minimum tread depth of only 1.6 millimeters, this is not the case. However, the ADAC recommends replacing winter tires in particular as early as four millimeters. Because even then, the grip properties on snow, slush, ice, or rain-soaked roadways decrease significantly. The tires are always marked "M+S" or the "Alpine-Provide symbol. Do not forget the spare tire. In addition, they should not be older than eight to ten years.
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Brakes particularly challenged in winter
The brakes should also be in perfect condition. Temperatures below zero, a lot of humidity and the aggressive salt on the roads will pose special challenges.
Drivers should therefore carry out at least a visual inspection of the brake discs and brake pads. If everything fits, the windshields will have an even wear pattern with no noticeable edge or deep grooves.
Ice scraping: Tips and tricks
In the meantime a well-known trick, nevertheless many do not use it yet, although it can save a lot of time in the morning: stretch an ice protection foil over the windshield overnight. This keeps the windshield free of ice at the front, and the film also prevents the wiper rubbers from freezing, explains Gerrit Reichel of Auto Club Verkehr (ACV).
Another relief are ice-free sprays: "These sprays allow the de-icing of the windows in a comparatively comfortable way. In addition, this method is gentler than the use of an ice scraper.", says Reichel.
Small helpers such as ice scrapers and hand brushes for snow are also indispensable in the car. Warm gloves make scraping easier – there are even combination products on the market: Ice scraper with warming glove.
Read also: Motorist sins in winter: First start the engine, then scrape it free – or?
These winter utensils should be stowed in the trunk
Despite the best preparation, it can happen in winter that the car technology fails its service. If you have some important utensils in your car, you are well prepared for this case. In winter, for example, you should always have a jumper cable with you so that you can jump-start or receive a jump-start if the battery goes on strike.
Winter tires, ice scraper& Co.How to winterize your car
In the event of a breakdown or long traffic jam, it is also good to have a warming blanket and gloves on board. A shovel and hand brush help to clear a snowed-in car of its snow cover and clear the way out of a snowed-in parking space.
Protect the car from moisture
To ensure good visibility, it is also essential to protect the car from moisture and humidity, both inside and out. A good helper are dehumidifier pads, whose granules draw the moisture out of the car and store it. Color fields on the cushions indicate when the cushions need to be dried, for example in the microwave oven.
The consequence of moisture is fogged windows: they quickly ensure that you can no longer see anything or that the windows freeze from the inside. TÜV Süd recommends anti-fogging cloths for wiping the windows clean.
Also, grease the rubber seals of the car doors, because then the door can be opened even in sub-zero temperatures without any problems and does not freeze shut. Vaseline, deer tallow or glycerine, for example, are suitable for this purpose. If the door lock is frozen shut, de-icing fluid is the first choice. However, you should not leave it in the car, because it will not do you any good there in case of doubt. Alternatively, you can use conventional lip balms for this purpose, although applying them is a bit more awkward.
Some manufacturers offer heated wiper nozzles as an option. While the idea itself is a good one. However, heated washer nozzles alone do not help much if the wiper water is already frozen in the hoses due to too low temperatures. It is better to mix the wiping water with sufficient antifreeze. There are even ready-made mixtures which, depending on the antifreeze content, are sufficient for almost arctic temperatures. Antifreeze should also be included in the cooling water. Because if ice forms in it, there is a risk of engine damage. You can have a garage check whether the antifreeze is in the right concentration or check it yourself with a measuring device at the gas station.
Read also: How long do I have to warm up my car in winter?
Check the lighting system
Since it is dark more often in winter, the entire lighting system of the car should be checked. Seeing and being seen is important for road safety – and this works in winter only with a lighting system without defects. Therefore, check that all lights on the car are working and correctly adjusted. Many workshops offer a free light check in the fall, where this work is taken off your hands.
Also, before each trip, check to see if there is any frost, snow or dirt still adhering to the headlights. If these are not clean, they lose their radiance. This will make you less visible to other road users. Also no longer have good visibility themselves.
Also the fog lamps should function. Because unlike the rear fog light, these may also be used in heavy rain or snowfall. When driving in winter, it is important to switch on the lights in good time, warns Tobias Goldkamp, a specialist in traffic law from Neuss. Otherwise you risk fines.
Check windshield wipers regularly
It is also important to check the windshield wipers, which should be replaced if they are very worn out. If the wiper blades of the windshield wiper are brittle or porous and draw streaks on the windshield, you should arrange for a replacement. In order for them to work properly, antifreeze in the windshield wiper water is indispensable. The correct mixing ratio can usually be found on the container – it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Your windshield washer system will then ensure that you have a clear view. In addition, you should also add antifreeze to the coolant, otherwise it could freeze and ultimately cause engine damage.
In winter, pay particular attention to ensuring that the ventilation is working properly. It is advisable to use a fine brush to clean the nozzles. Otherwise, moisture could in turn cause the windows to mist up and reduce your visibility.
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Maintain the body and check the car battery
In order to protect your vehicle also from the outside against the weather influences such as frost and cold, a good care is important. Clean the car in the car wash. Apply hard wax. A paint polish also strengthens your vehicle. You should regularly remove salt crusts.
Checking the car battery is one of the most important to-dos before the cold season. ADAC breakdown statistics show that in 42 percent of all cases the battery is the cause of a breakdown. In winter and especially at temperatures of minus ten degrees Celsius, the battery often fails because it has only two-thirds of its actual power left.
Heating, fans and lights are often needed in the dark months of November, December, January and February. The voltage of the battery should therefore not drop below 12.6 V. In addition, the age of your car battery should not exceed five years. Older batteries should be protected under circumstances with a thermo packing or be replaced completely. The exchange is usually unproblematic. Can be done even by laymen. However, be sure to follow the correct sequence when disconnecting the old battery as well as connecting the new one. Otherwise it can come to damage to the on-board electronics.
Reichel from ACV recommends checking the fluid level in the cells once a year and topping up with distilled water if necessary. The battery should always be kept clean. Check the tight fit of the terminal clamps. Brake fluid and engine oil should also be checked by a specialist, advises the expert.
Winter tires, ice scraper& Co.How to winterize your car
What e-car drivers should pay attention to
What applies to combustion engines applies all the more to electric cars. Nevertheless, Volker Blandow from TÜV Süd emphasizes that e-cars are just as winter-proof as gasoline or diesel cars. The expert estimates the range loss of e-cars in winter at up to 30 percent, but points out that even internal combustion engines use more fuel at sub-zero temperatures.
At the same time, e-car drivers can do a few things for the battery in winter. "Who has the possibility, should park the car in the warm garage", recommends Blandow. It is also advantageous to charge the car before setting off in the morning, because the battery has already reached operating temperature by the time the car is driven off.
Useless car accessories for the winter
In winter you can buy all kinds of car accessories, but there are also some useless ones. What you can safely do without. Why we explain here.
In contrast to a normal ice scraper, a heated ice scraper is supposed to make it more comfortable to scrape away the ice layer. In fact, this idea turns out to be quite useless. If the ice scraper does not warm up quickly enough, then the supposed technical gadget hardly brings any relief in the work. If it gets too hot, the frozen windshield can crack in the worst case scenario. The same can happen if you pour warm water over the frozen car windows to get a clear view quickly. If the temperature difference is too great, the windows will capitulate faster than some drivers think.
Not only ice scrapers, but also door lock deicers are available in heated versions. Not using chemicals may be a laudable idea. Unfortunately, door locks can hardly be de-iced with it, because these devices do not develop enough heat. In addition, you need batteries that cost money and consume relatively quickly. Environmentally unfriendly, the heated door lock de-icer is therefore a rather useless winter accessory.
A fan heater for the car interior can quickly provide cozy warmth in the interior – or a vehicle fire. But if you absolutely want to use a car heater, then it should also be labeled as such. Household products should be avoided because of the risk of fire. You should also bear in mind that such heaters draw a lot of power from the vehicle battery via the 12 V electrical system. Especially in winter, the risk of breaking down with your car then increases. A warm interior is a small consolation. A special parking heater is an alternative, but the cost of retrofitting it is higher.
High fines threaten
Who disregards the appropriate rules in winter, risks not only dangerous accidents, but also fines:
– Icy windshield, you only scratch a "peephole" free: 10 Euro
– You do not clear the car roof of snow: 25 euros
– Driving without winter tires despite black ice and snow: at least 60 euros, a point in Flensburg
– You do not switch on the dipped headlights outside the city, although snowfall obstructs the view: at least 60 euros, one point
This look in the current fine catalog shows: It can become very fast very expensive.
Last but not least, the driving style should also be adapted. In general, drivers should be much more careful in winter than in summer. Poor visibility, darkness, a lower adhesion level and dirty roads are just some of the additional dangers.