I’m a driving expert – here are my top three tips to safely de-ice your car | The Sun

A MOTORING expert has revealed some little-known tips on how to safely de-ice your car – and save you money.

While every driver knows carrying a can of de-icer and a scrapper is essential during winter, there are various not so well-known tips that can also help so you can get on the road quicker.

Driving expert Graham Conway, managing director at Select Car Leasing, told The Sun: “Whilst not many people may know this when you whack your heating on in the car, you should also open one of the front windows a crack. 

“This sounds counter-intuitive, but opening the window just a touch means that the cold, moist air can exit the vehicle, whilst the hot air being produced can warm the vehicle windows, melting the ice. 

“This is effectively a catalyst for the hot air circulating around the vehicle when the car’s heater is on, helping to heat it quicker.”

Mr Conway also advised it was worth investing in a cheap electric blanket as this can help minimise the time spent defrosting the vehicle if used the night before

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He said: “A cheap electric blanket, costing around £14 costs approximately 3p an hour to run, equalling around £1.37 if used for seven hours a day. With this in mind, placing blankets across the seats will help produce heat inside the vehicle and minimise the defrosting process in the morning.”

On the market are electric blankets that fit directly into a car’s cigarette lighter.

However, Mr Conway did also warn against a hack that has been circulating on TikTok recently, supposedly showing a quick way to de-frost a car.

He said: “Putting warm water – as opposed to boiling hot water – into a sandwich bag before sealing it and dragging the bag slowly across the face of the window is a relatively safe hack. 

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“But if you make the mistake of using red-hot water, you’re asking for trouble. 

“Just like pouring boiling water directly onto a windscreen, the rapid change in extreme temperatures could cause the glass to crack.

“I think there’s also a danger that people will use the wrong type of bag.

“A sandwich bag is smooth, soft and pliable, and is unlikely to scratch the windscreen’s glass. 

“But using something like a more robust ‘bag for life’, one with sharp edges on the bottom, is not to be recommended, as you could end up scarring the windscreen and causing long-term damage to the glass.”

While Mr Conway recommended reaching for the de-icer should be your first port of call he did reveal a nifty substitute tip if you’re stuck without any.

He said: “Mix three parts vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle. Vinegar is a natural antifreeze, and even one quick spray will begin to break down the ice on your windows.”

Mr Conway strongly advised motorists never to leave their cars unattended while de-icing, as not only do you leave yourself vulnerable to opportunistic thieves who could simply steal your car but it is actually an offence which could land you with a fine.

He said: “It is extremely important that motorists do not leave their vehicle unattended whilst de-icing – this could just leave you in hot water.

“’Stationary idling’ is in fact an offence under the Road Traffic Act, which means leaving the vehicle engine running unnecessarily while the vehicle is stationary on a public road is not permitted.

“If you do need to defrost your vehicle ensure you stay with it and don't leave it unattended with the keys inside.”

Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 prohibits leaving your engine on when it is not needed.

This act enforces Rule 123 of the Highway Code, which states “you must not leave a vehicle’s engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road”.

If you do leave your engine idle, you could face a fine upwards of £20, or £80 in areas of London – as under the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) Regulations of 2002.

Mr Conway also revealed his top tips to save money when driving in cold weather which reduces the fuel economy of a car.

He said: “There are several factors that cause this, including the engine taking longer to warm up, the battery performance generally decreasing and tire pressure decreasing, increasing the vehicle's drag, which increases fuel consumption.

“Therefore it is recommended that motorists follow some tips that will help keep fuel costs down. 

“Working through the gears quickly can help save fuel, as lower gears generally use more fuel, and when the vehicle is in a higher gear it has more momentum, requiring less fuel usage. Therefore, try to use the highest possible gear when it's safe to do so, and don't stay at lower gears for long.

“Another tip is tryingnot to brake too much. Generally, when the vehicle is travelling at a high speed it is using more energy, and all the fuel you have given to your car’s energy will be wasted when you whack on the brakes.

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“Try to travel slower and brake less frequently.

“It is also helpful to take any unnecessary weight away from your vehicle.The heavier the vehicle the more energy, and therefore fuel it will use. So if you are lugging around a bag of golf clubs in the boot, it is best to only transport them when necessary.”

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