Cold Start

A few thoughts on winter driving in the UK (seeing as though we rarely get any decent snow).

Winterizing Fuel
All diesel sold in the UK between 16 November and 15 March has to meet the ‘Winter diesel standard’ which ensures protection against waxing down to -15C. So leave the Jerry can you filled in the summer alone.

Winterizing the car.
Check your tires. Preferably fit winter types.
Inspect the treads you NEED loads of rubber.
Ensure your tire pressures are correct.
Check all your fluids are correct, windscreen wiper blades,
Put winter additive into the washer fluid AND DRAW IT THROUGH.
Carry a tow rope, heavy duty jump leads, a small wire brush, the necessary tools to swap your battery out.
Check all lights and indicators work.

If you have snow chains, on a nice day i.e. before the event, practice putting them on.

Frozen up
Door locks frozen, seals sticking, windows won’t open?
WD40 helps as does a smear of Vaseline BUT wait till the car is warm before trying your windows.
NEVER USE YOUR WIPERS WITHOUT FIRST CHECKING THEY ARE FREE I.E. NOT FROZEN.

Creature Comforts
Carry coats, wear warm clothing.
You can always take stuff off, you can’t put on what you ain’t carrying.
Include a blanket for each person, a woolly hat and gloves,
High energy snack food and drink.
Make sure you mobile phone is fully charged BEFORE leaving.
Do not rely on the car to charge it up.
Check the contents of your first aid kit.
Carry a bag of salt and sand mix. Carry a shovel.
Add a LARGE piece of cloth or carpet to put beneath your jack if you have to change a tire.

If the weather is truly horrible.
TELL someone where you are going, when you are going, and what route you will be using.
Ask them to notify your “destination” if they have not heard from you that you are safe.
REMEMBER TO PHONE THEM TO TELL THEM YOU ARE SAFE.

Starting a VERY cold car.
It’s all about the car battery.
Cold batteries can’t deliver as much “juice” as warm batteries.
Your engine will be “Sticky” and the oils thicker than usual so you must lessen the load when starting the engine.

Turn EVERYTHING electrical off.
Put car into NEUTRAL and PUSH IN THE CLUTCH.
Diesel car, cycle the ignition key a couple of times for run the glow plug heaters twice.
Start it AS SOON AS THE HEATER COIL LIGHT GOES OUT.
Turn the engine over
Once started, let it get warm BEFORE you drive off.
Whilst it is getting warm, clear BY HAND ALL the windows, mirrors, lights, external vents, and excess snow off the roof and hood of your vehicle.
If you have air conditioning, turn it on HOT and at a fast but not full blow. DO NOT set it to recycle the air.
Don’t use your windscreen wipers BEFORE checking that they are free and not frozen to the screen.

Snow and Brakes.

Most cars have ABS.
If in trouble, stomp down hard to engage the ABS and steer round round the obstacle.
In snow it is beneficial to lift off the brakes until you feel the ABS cutting in / out every second of so as opposed to the constant “judder” of a full on stomp and hold.

No ABS is not a disaster.
For non-ABS on a mixed-surface road, push the brake pedal hard until the wheels stop rolling, then immediately release the brake enough to allow the wheels to begin turning again. (cadence braking)

Skidding.
Often the fault is too much power and too much steering.
Drive to the conditions NOT TO YOUR WATCH.

Take your foot off the gas.
Steer into the skid.
Unless you have to, LEAVE THE BRAKES ALONE.
With ABS stomp hard and hold, without ABS pump the brakes (cadence braking).

Finally.
If weather conditions are just too bad, DON’T DRIVE.
If your boss don’t like it, politely tell him to “Go Forth And Multiply” (Or words to that effect).

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