IT'S THE WEEKEND: Get the right gear to keep the car clear
2:10pm Sunday 13th October 2013 in News
IT MAY feel like you’ve only just put the summer tyres on your car, and your sunglasses are still in pride of place, but with the evenings drawing in, it’s that time of year when drivers everywhere start thinking of how to get ready for the cold weather.
Luckily, staying safe is easy with this selection of products from across the price range, to suit your budget.
Starting at the lower end, you’re going to need to stock up on some basic supplies: for starters, screenwash suitable for cold conditions, and some de-icer for windows and the windscreen.
High street chain Home Bargains does Chill Factor Screenwash Concentrate for just 79p, and Supa Clear De-Icer for 99p. Here’s a tip: don’t be tempted to use a jug of warm water to clear your iced-up windscreen and windows. It may seem more environmentally friendly but it won’t do your car any favours – it could damage the windscreen and end up costing you 100 times more than the can of de-icer.
For bigger snow drifts, and bigger windscreens, you’ll need more than de-icer. The RAC sells a heavy duty snow brush which is ideal for use on larger cars, people carriers and vans, retailing at £24.99 and available online at www.racshop.co.uk.
Perhaps you’re thinking of investing in a complete kit for safety and warmth, rather than going through the hassle of picking up individual items. There are a number of these on the market – I’ve picked out a few examples here for you.
Clothing brand Cotswold Outdoor have put together a “Boyztoyz” winter emergency kit for £20 (reduced from £30) which can be stored in the boot of your car, containing a foldable shovel, torch, a warning cone, an ice scraper, two hand warmers, gloves, a whistle with a compass, a 16-item first aid kit, an emergency blanket and an SOS flag. These are available in store or online at www.cotswoldoutdoor.com.
Breakdown providers RAC also produce what they call the ultimate family winter breakdown kit for £59.99, which is slightly more expensive than your average self-contained kit – but it does come with enough equipment for your whole family. This one contains four emergency foil blankets, four hand warmer twin packs, an adult high visibility vest, an extendable snow brush with ice scraper, a snow shovel, a USB phone charger – wait for it – a three-tonne tow rope, a wind-up torch, shoe grips, a first aid kit and a heavy duty storage bag, and is available online at www.racshop.co.uk. Insurers and breakdown specialists the AA also produce a range of car kits, from its £19.99 winter car kit, to its £48.99 ultimate winter car kit, which has been reduced from £69.99.
The lower priced model comes with the basics: a compact folding snow shovel, an adult’s high visibility vest, an emergency foil blanket, an LED torch and a canvas carry bag.
Its more expensive associate is slightly more heavy duty and comes with one set of Thinsulate gloves, hat and neck warmer and a foil blanket, a travel blanket, snow and ice grips, a tow rope, a high visibility vest, and 3.5kg of de-icing salt. The snow salt is available to buy separately at £7.99.
All of these are available at www.shop.theaa.com.
There are also products you might want to think about fHandy for slippery situations outside the vehicle is the. One emerging trend is a new take on the snow shoe, replacing them with a slip-on ‘ice gripper’ to wear over your shoes. Easy to put on over shoes, these are – as you can imagine – designed to help stop you slipping on snow and ice. The online fashion brand Damart has them available in two sizes, encompassing UK sizes 5 to 8, and then 8 to 11, for £10.
Alternatively, Cotswold Outdoor has a slightly more stylised version, the Yaktrax Walker, available for £15 in sizes ranged from extra small to large.
Finally, you may even want to consider winter tyres or snow chains or socks for your car in case of really bad weather. Winter tyres are recommended for wetter weather with their chunkier tread, and will provide more grip. Visit your nearest tyre retailer to discuss the options for your vehicle.
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