Criminals love cars with the keys left in
Car security has improved enormously in recent years, and most new vehicles come equipped with alarm and immobiliser systems that are really tough to crack. But it doesn’t matter how advanced your security is if you leave your car on the road with the engine running, because opportunistic thieves are likely to treat it as an invitation to jump in and drive away. Yet that’s exactly what happens right around the country whenever there’s a hard frost – and if your car is stolen while unattended with the engine runing and the keys in the ignition, you’re unlikely to be covered by your insurance.
The right way to de-ice your windscreen
First, check that your windscreen wipers are switched off, because if they’re frozen to the windscreen, your wiper motor can be damaged when you start the engine. All clear? Then start the car, turn on the windscreen blower, the heated rear windscreen and mirror heaters if you have them. Switch on the aircon too, because it removes moisture from the blown air and prevents the inside of your windscreen from fogging up. Now it’s time to tackle the iced-up windows.
Always do a thorough job
Spray de-icer over the windows and windscreen (not just the driver’s side) then get to work with a scraper. Rule 229 of the Highway Code clearly states that drivers must clear all windows, mirrors and lights – which means that driving with a partially cleared windscreen is an offence and could land you with a fine and points on your licence. Or worse still, that iced-up passenger window could easily hide a cyclist. So no matter how much of a hurry you’re in, NEVER drive off until your windscreen and all windows are completely clear.
The smartest way to make sure your windows are clear is to prevent them icing up in the first place – and the easiest way to do that is to fit a car cap. A car cap is like windscreen cover, but it fits right over the roof and covers all the car’s windows. If you leave your vehicle on a public road and you’re worried a car cap might be stolen under cover of darkness, a night-before de-icer is a good preventive measure. Spray it on your windows just like de-icer, and if the temperature plummets, the fluid will prevent the ice bonding with the glass. Come morning, you may still have to wait until your windows are de-misted on the inside, but at least you won’t have to get your hands cold scraping off the ice.