It can’t have escaped your attention that it’s really rather cold in the UK at the moment. For those of you who have to venture out in the car in the mornings, it’s not a simple question of jumping in and heading off; not when your windscreen resembles a block of ice and the interior is as cold as your refrigerator.
With many weeks of British winter still to come, it’ll be a while before spring appears and you can ditch the jumper and scarf. So for that reason, we’ve trawled the internet for some products and accessories that will make your cold-weather motoring safer and easier. There are some daily basics here, but hopefully also a couple of the items you may not have thought to invest in before.
You’ll fine some useful tips at the end of the feature. You may also like to check out our guide to winter driving challenges.
1. A time saver
There IS an alternative to endless spraying and scraping of your windscreen just so you can see where you’re going on cold British mornings.
This windshield cover boasts some great reviews, with owners saying it keeps their cars “frost free” at very low temperatures. Using such an item can also reduce the wear and tear on a windscreen from all that scraping.
We particularly like the fact that this cover comes with wrap-around tabs that fasten within your front doors, protecting the cover from blowing away – or from opportunist thieves.
- Saves time.
- Easy to fit and secure.
- Available in two different sizes – make sure you buy the correct one for your car!
2. A little extra comfort
If you want the initial part of your journey to be spent in comfort – rather than gritting your teeth against the cold – one of these seat warming pads will do the trick. Warm seats are no longer the exclusive preserve of high end prestige cars.
The warming pads plug into your 12V socket and the level of heat is adjustable.
When we researched these accessories, we noticed many such products had rather negative reviews, but this one had only five star reports. One driver even commented that the padding made the seats more comfortable as well as warmer.
- Universal fit
- Low-cost luxury
- Not the most attractive accessory to add to your car.
3. An essential for everyone
De-icer spray is a winter essential, but quality varies. The Prestone product is extremely well-reviewed and far more effective than many of the cheap varieties you may find in garages or on the high street.
While it’s a little more expensive than “budget” de-icer, reviewers report that far less of the methanol-based product is required to cut through ice – so it actually works out economically. A three pack should definitely see you through this cold winter.
It’s also reassuring to see people comment that they don’t experience “re-freeze” with this product, which can prove a problem with cheaper brands on particularly cold days.
- The best de-icer we could find.
- Works in extreme low temperatures.
- Can leave some residue if used excessively.
4. Ultimate convenience!
If you’re a real car enthusiast and don’t even want to step into the cold to get your morning driving routine underway, you may wish to consider a remote starter.
You can use this product to start your car in the morning so you can begin to warm things up before exposing yourself to the elements, or even use it to do the same when you’re parked up and returning to your vehicle.
It’s worth noting that the installation of such a kit is not really for beginners, so unless you are skilled in such things you may prefer to get an expert to assist. This particular model is for automatic vehicles only.
- Can start your car from a long range.
- Far cheaper than many similar systems.
- Installation is quite involved.
- NOT for manual cars – only automatics.
5. One for the scraping and wiping
With the best will in the world (and even with all of these accessories), you’re unlikely to escape at least some scraping and wiping of your car during the winter. As such, it’s best to choose the right tools for the job.
This kit contains two ice scrapers and two chamois demister pads – an essential for wiping the inside of your windscreen. Best of all, the scrapers come with an innovative insulated “glove” so you don’t have to freeze your hands while you use them!
These are inexpensive accessories and you get two of each – a must for every glove compartment.
- Great value.
- Keep your hands warm!
- Two of each item included.
Handy Tips for Winter Mornings
- Properly clearing your windows and windscreen before driving isn’t just a matter of safety – failing to do so can also land you in trouble with the police if you drive with obstructed vision.
- Lukewarm water can give you a great head-start on clearing iced up windows – just don’t use very hot or boiling water or you’ll risk breaking your glass.
- Getting your car started while you de-ice and scrape can get you ahead – but don’t leave your car while you do so and risk theft.
- If you have air conditioning or climate control, read your car manual to ascertain the best settings to use for fast window clearing – these are not always immediately obvious.
- Don’t forget lights, windows and mirrors – these are just as important for visibility as your windscreen.
- Always allow enough time to set off in the morning – this will stop you taking safety risks to get to work on time.
- If you have a remote starter – either build into your car or as an add-on, don’t use it for more than five minutes before setting off – this is not great for the environment.
Do you have any winter car care tips to share? If so, please use the comments below.