Previously we’ve shared an essential winter driving checklist. This was a list of various things you can do to ensure your car or van is ready for winter.
As part of this checklist we discussed putting together a winter kit for your car or van – a set of items to keep in your vehicle to ensure you’re prepared for anything the season might throw at you.
In this post we’ll take a closer look at what you should include in your winter car pack, while exploring some other things you may wish to purchase for your car or van this winter.
Winter Car Covers
A winter car cover is a blanket you can throw over your car or van to protect it from the harsh winter weather.
The cover can bring a number of benefits:
- It keeps your car warm, so frost is less likely to gather on the windscreen, and you’re less likely to have trouble starting your car on cold winter mornings.
- Snow and ice can damage your car’s windscreen or paintwork, so a winter car cover can help prolong your car’s lifespan.
- Low temperatures can also damage engines and metalwork, but a winter car cover can prevent the vehicle from freezing over.
But they aren’t always cheap. Some winter covers can be expensive, particularly if you need to buy a large one for a van. Not everybody will want to deal with the hassle of putting the cover on and taking it off between journeys. But even in milder climates, they can make it that little bit easier to start your car or van on freezing mornings so worth considering.
Some drivers like to fit their car or van with specialist tyres for the winter.
Winter tyres have greater tread depths than summer tyres, with wider and deeper grooves. They’re also made from a different kind of rubber compound for extra durability in low temperatures. So they offer extra grip and better handling on ice and snow when compared to normal tyres.
But like winter car covers, winter tyres are costly, and they’re only really useful in particularly cold climates. They can make a significant difference on slippery roads, but unless the UK is facing another cold snap, you may not be able to justify the expense.
What To Include In Your Winter Car or Van Pack
Winter tyres and covers can be useful, but they’re not for everyone. But the following items are things that all drivers should keep in their car through the winter months. The weather can be unpredictable at this time of year, and breakdowns are a lot more likely. These items will help you through whatever conditions the winter brings.
You’ll need a de-icer spray and a windscreen scraper. You’ll likely only use these things at the start of your journeys to clear the ice from your windscreen before you set out. But it’s best to keep them in your car at all times, just in case.
Snow Survival Kit
Your car might get stuck if there’s been a heavy snowfall. But with the right equipment you might be able to free yourself.
- First, pack a coat, a hat, and some gloves, to keep you warm while you step outside to investigate the situation.
- Next, pack a torch, and a replacement torch battery, so you’ll be able to see what you’re doing if you get stuck in the dark.
- Pack a shovel, as you might be able to free your car or van through removing some of the snow around your wheels. Placing a blanket in front of your wheels may also give you the traction you need to drive out of your snowy patch.
Breakdown Survival Kit
Even if there’s no snow about, low temperatures can make breakdowns more likely during the winter. You may have to wait a while for rescue, so it’s important to be prepared for a long wait.
You probably never leave home without your smartphone. But consider packing a portable charger, so you’ll be able to call for help even if your battery runs flat.
Pack lots of blankets, so you and your passengers can stay warm while you await rescue. You could also pack some food and drink, just in case – like a few bottles of water, and maybe some fruit or cereal bars.
The Car or Van Winter Kit – The Complete List
- Winter car cover or car blanket
- Winter tyres
- Warm clothes – a hat, a coat, and gloves
- De-icer spray
- A windscreen scraper
- A torch, and replacement batteries
- Blankets – for you, your passengers, and to place on the floor for extra traction if necessary
- Portable charger for your smartphone
- Food and drink
Finally, if you’ve not done so already, now might be a good idea to add breakdown cover when you buy your car or van insurance policy.