Ensuring vehicles are clean inside and out is a great way to enter the new year. Below are some points to add to your cleaning regime in the winter months, not only to help keep your car or van looking its best, but also to make your journeys safer and more comfortable.
Months of air conditioning and dust builds up a grimy layer on the inside of the windscreen, so spend a few minutes with some window/glass cleaner to get it really clean. A squeaky-clean surface will eliminate glare from the low sun and greatly reduce the likelihood of the screen misting up. Carefully clean the rear screen so that you don’t damage the heater elements and you’ll save having to put the heated rear window on so frequently.
If wiper blades begin to squeak, it’s time to change them. When the new blades sweep the screen in efficient, rain clearing silence, you’ll be grateful you did. On icy days always check that your wipers are not frozen to the glass. Switching the wipers on could blow a fuse or damage the motors.
Ready-mixed washer fluid can be an expensive convenience; it’s typically £5 or so for five litres – more at motorway service areas – and most of it is just water. Many supermarkets sell concentrated fluid which will dilute to make at least 20 litres for a lower price. On cold days, don’t use the washers until you feel warm air coming out of the heater, otherwise the spray may freeze on your windscreen leaving you driving blind.
Frost and ice
Invest in a good quality ice scraper and a few tins of de-icing spray. Clear the whole screen, not just a letter box area in front of the driver. A badly cleared screen is dangerous and driving without being able to see sufficiently is an offence. Three points and a hefty fine can be the reward for rushing.
Don’t forget, it is illegal to leave a car running unattended, as well as being a huge temptation for the casual thief. Most insurance companies may not pay out if you make it easy for someone to steal your vehicle, so remain with it at all times.
Clear damp or snowy boots and coats out of the vehicle when you get home – if you leave them in overnight the water will evaporate and condense on the inside of all the windows. As well as taking longer to clear, the vehicle will feel damp and miserable for your morning commute. Even leaving them in the boot will make the windows wet and foggy, so get them indoors where they’ll dry out properly.