Status: 08.12.2023, 11:52 a.m.
Driving in winter brings numerous dangers due to the cold weather. Many drivers make unnecessary mistakes and thus damage their car.
Due to snow, ice, fog and shorter days, driving in winter is more uncomfortable than at other times of the year. In any case, it is worthwhile to always carry some things in the vehicle during the "dark season". In general, many people underestimate the dangers that the weather can bring. Black ice is particularly treacherous, as it severely impairs reaction time and control of the vehicle. Due to ignorance, cardinal errors occur again and again when dealing with one's own car, which can result in serious damage or even accidents. To get through the winter safely, you should avoid the following deadly sins at all costs.
Bringing moisture into the car
In winter, car windows quickly freeze from the inside. This is usually due to moisture inside the car. That's why you should make sure to remove snow from your clothes before getting into the car. It is best to always pat your shoes carefully and take the possibly wet floor mats into the house to dry. In winter, it is worth switching to rubber mats. Regular airing of the car also helps.
De-icing the car window with hot water or a CD case
Applying hot water to frozen car windows is an absolute no-no. The sudden difference in temperature can cause the disc to burst or crack. In addition, there is a risk that the water will drip onto other parts of the vehicle and freeze there, which can cause additional defects.
CD cases or hot water are no alternative to the ice scraper. © McPhoto/Luhr/Imago
CD cases are also anything but suitable for scraping ice off the windows. The plastic material can damage the surface of the disc and therefore does more harm than good. There are much more effective and safer methods to de-ice car windows in winter. For example, special ice scrapers, de-icing sprays or a standard vinegar and water mix (3 parts water, 1 part vinegar) can be used.
Leave the engine idle
On particularly cold days, some drivers want to heat their car by letting the engine warm up while stationary. This not only releases unnecessary pollutants into the environment, but also increases the wear and tear of the engine parts. This can result in expensive repairs. The associated noise is also an important argument for not leaving the engine idle. Anyone who violates this must expect a fine of 80 euros plus administrative fees.
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Wear a winter jacket at the wheel
As banal as it sounds, you should take off your winter jacket before setting off. Otherwise, the seat belt will not fit snugly enough against the body – there is a risk that you will not be adequately protected in the event of an accident. In addition, with a thick jacket, a lot of freedom of movement is lost.
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Driving short distances all the time
In cold weather, you can do your car a favor by refraining from driving short distances all the time. In winter, it takes longer for bearings and lubrication surfaces to be supplied with oil. Since the viscous oil is less well distributed, there is greater resistance in the engine and wear is higher. That's why more fuel is used during a cold start. High revs are equally detrimental to the engine.
Neglecting the car battery
Low temperatures cause the battery to drain faster and be less powerful. After all, the car needs electricity for winter tools such as the blower and heated seats. In addition, the battery has to do more work to get the cold engine going. If the battery has already been around for a few years, it can easily happen that the vehicle suddenly stops starting. That's why you should have your car battery checked once or twice a year at a specialist workshop. Usually, however, it is announced in advance that the battery will soon give up the ghost.
Conventional detergents can freeze at low temperatures. That's why you should definitely add a cleaner with antifreeze to the windshield washer system. The coolant should also be protected from frost. It is important to pay attention to the correct mixing ratio of water to frost protection. Typically, it is 50:50 to 60:40. This protection ranges from minus 25 degrees to minus 40 degrees and should be topped up regularly.
Windshield antifreeze is a must in winter. © AndreyPopov/IMAGO
Do not care for seals
The door seals often freeze in cold weather, which can cause cracks and breakages when doors are opened. You should therefore regularly treat the rubbers and seals with silicone or deer tallow. Glycerin is also recommended for frost protection. Before application, the gasket should be thoroughly cleaned and completely dry.