January 10, 2011
During the last several weeks in England, we have experienced perhaps the roughest winter weather for many years. Perhaps the worst feature of these winters is that they ar not severe enough. If my theory appears to be something of a nonsense, just consider it for a minute. A really severe winter for us in England is when the weather remains below consecutively.
As a result our troubles are twofold. First, we simply do not invest in equipment to overcome real winter weather. We have very few snow ploughs and gritters, and just about nobody, even the emergency services fits snow tyres. Additionally, when we do get for us very cold weather, the temperature very seldom goes lower than a few degrees below That in turn means that the moisture levels remain quite high, and this in turn gives rise to frozen wiper blades, windshields, door locks and door seals on our vehicles.
I first realised the peculiarity of our winter weather when I was visiting Iceland one year at the start of winter. Everybody complained of being very cold, and we had all those moist winter problems with the vehicles in the mornings. But, the locals surprised and dismayed me with their assurances that it would all improve as soon as the temperature tumbled another 10° or so. At that time, they insisted, the sea would freeze over and the humidity level would tumble.
When this comes about, there’s so little moisture in the atmosphere that there’s little or no condensation to settle and then freeze on your vehicle during the night. That means that the windscreen is clear and clean, the Wiper Blades aren’t frozen to the screen, the locks all work, the door seals aren’t frozen, and most importantly, the ignition system is nice and dry. You don’t even really need winter screen wash additive, because there’s no nasty wet spray being thrown up onto your windscreen by other traffic. In actual fact the only problem you could have is that your wiper blades, if you’re using rubber ones, may be frozen stiff.
Therefore, it looks like we British are victims of our own temperate weather. Once I realised this fact, I looked into what I could do to lessen the problem. Readying a vehicle for the Uk winter is nothing like the same as preparing it for a proper Nordic|Arctic|Alpine|Scandinavianrarely experience temperatures as low as eight below freezing, but we will often get moist weather during the day followed by night time freezing.
For those reasons, I always carry out the usual pre-winter checks on my car: anti-freeze, drive belts, lights, windscreen and wiper blades, battery, alternator and ignition system etc. Additionally, I make sure to lubricate my car’s locks with a quality water repellent lock lubricant, then I clean and polish the rubber door seals with silicone polish. Most “Cockpit Shine” type products are an excellent source of silicone. Apply enough to leave the rubber shiny black. Remember that a few vehicles have 2 door seals: one on the door frame and the other on the door itself.
Finally, so as to avoid the risk of ruining my windscreen wiper mechanism or motor, I’ve permanently moved over to Silicone Wiper Blades. These stay flexible down to minus sixty degrees centigrade so they ensure a clean wipe in even the toughest conditions, and they don’t crack or split with the cold. On top of that, silicone is more water repellent that rubber, so it offers a much lower risk of your wiper blades being frozen to your car’s windscreen. Silicone wiper blades also offer superb resistance to the chemicals used as winter screen wash antifreeze, UV and Ozone, making them an excellent choice for summer use also.
I discovered a brand called XOPC. These are designed for Russian winters. They are very competitively priced and come with a 12 month guarantee.