According to the AA there has been a rise in Car Thefts whilst people leave their car running to “defrost” them.
Nobody likes cold morning starts. The tempting option of starting the car, setting the blowers to max and leaving it to idle until the windows are clear sounds far less pain-inducing than hacking at ice-covered windows with a scraper.
But according to some rather extensive calculations by Direct Line Insurance those who are opting to leave their cars idling are wasting extortionate amounts of money and fuel.
Motorists should also be aware that if the vehicle is stolen they may not be able to claim on their insurance because:
- Most motor insurance policies now have a specific “keys in car “ or “vehicle left unattended” clause and exclude claims in these circumstances.
- In addition, there will be a ‘reasonable care’ clause, whereby the insurer may reject a claim on the grounds of the policyholder being ‘reckless’ in not safeguarding the vehicle.
When Its Cold and there is the threat of Snow or ice, the best advice is to leave your car in the garage, if you have one, or if you leave it outside, place a piece of cardboard over the windscreen. Always keep a scraper and some de-icer in your vehicle and use them to clear all the ice and snow away before you set off.
A car left ticking over on a drive, especially if the owner pops back indoors to keep warm or gather their things for the day, is an open invitation. Too many car thieves gratefully accept that invitation.
Hot water risks damage
The AA says that using hot water on a frozen Windscreen brings a real risk of damage. Sudden expansion caused by hot water followed by contraction as it cools can cause the glass to crack, especially if it already has chips or small cracks.
On very cold days this method is ineffective, as the hot water will rapidly cool and almost instantly turn to ice. Worse, it will accumulate on the wipers and freeze them to the screen, risking damage to the wiper motor or ripping off the rubber if you switch them on.
Tips for a clear winter view
- While you use a scraper and de-icer on the outside of your car, starting the engine, switching on heated rear screen and mirrors and allowing air-conditioned air to circulate to gently warm the glass is the most effective way to clear frosted glass.
- Stay with the car all the time – if you must go back indoors switch off and lock the car.
- Do not drive off until all of the glass is clear
- Remember not to leave wipers in ‘auto’ when frost is expected – if wipers are frozen to the glass the wiper motor could be damaged. Don’t try to force frozen wipers off the glass
- Never use just-boiled water to clear glass – it could crack the glass, freezes quickly and could ice your wipers to the glass
- Clear all snow off the car, a soft brush is effective – making sure the front grille is clear (otherwise there is risk of the engine overheating). Make sure lights are clean and working
- Air conditioning isn’t only for summer – it will help to dry the air and keep cold glass mist free.
- Don’t use your hands to wipe misted-up windows – you’ll leave greasy smears and a diamond ring could scratch the glass. Use a lint-free absorbent cloth if necessary
So, probably best to be prepared and cover the car and or windscreen to stop the temptation to leave the car running, this “be prepared” action could also save you valuable time in the morning rush for the school run or work!