An update from Kim Henson…
I am indebted to Wheels-Alive reader/viewer Gerald Morgan for contacting us to say that he enjoyed, and found helpful, my recent ‘Kim’s Tips’ article entitled ‘Getting Colder’ (and dated 11th January). He has made a few further suggestions which he feels may be useful to ‘Wheels-Alive’ users, and here they are (please see below). Thanks Gerald, I feel that your suggestions, which apply equally to old and new vehicles, are very helpful, so, for the benefit of other ‘Wheels-Alive’ here they are:
1. KEEP IT CLEAN
Windscreen cleaning fluid in washer bottles: Washers/wipers are needed to clean dirty windscreens and rear windows (if they have a wiper). On a regular/frequent basis make sure the washer bottle is full and contains the correct amount of windscreen cleaning fluid that also acts as an anti-freeze (but DO NOT use anti-freeze intended for use in cooling systems; it will damage your car’s paintwork). The recommended dilution rate (which depends on ambient temperature and conditions) will be printed on the screenwash cleaning fluid’s product container (or in some cases it comes ready-mixed).
Remember that the small diameter supply pipes employed to deliver the water to the washer jets will be exposed to the cold more than the reservoir bottle, so using a high concentration of washer fluid will help stop them freezing up. Immediately after increasing the concentration in the reservoir, run the wash/wipe for several seconds to fill these pipes – then top up again. It’s also worth keeping a spare bottle of mixed fluid in the car for future topping up, especially when away from home.
2. KEEPING WARM
Keep a spare blanket or two in the car as a matter of course; useful for keeping warm if needed in an emergency. A spare thick coat or two, plus warm gloves and boots, are also worth carrying in cold conditions – just in case you have to walk.
3. CLEANING OFF THE SALT AND GRIT
After a cold snap, wash the car, especially underneath and around the inside of the wheel arches. The salt mixed with grit and spread on the roads in cold conditions to help minimise ice formation will cause corrosion on any untreated/exposed steel surfaces – including the underbody and running gear components. This can result in premature demise!
Washing away the salt and grit will help your vehicle to survive in the long run. However, avoid spraying the underside of the vehicle with water when temperatures are still liable to dip below freezing point, since the water can freeze around components that are designed to move – including handbrake operating systems. Note that regular/frequent lubrication of the pivot points in such systems will help to minimise this possibility in normal use in the winter.