We carry on the series looking at how you can protect you, your van and its insurance premiums with more advice, just before the weather turns, as forecast, this weekend. Miss article one? It’s here[...]
2. Windscreens are particularly vulnerable in winter, both whilst driving from weather debris and from contraction and expansion as they are exposed to extreme temperatures at both ends of the thermometer. Whether it has snowed or not, frost will build up inside and out in extreme minus conditions, forming barriers to your visibility both in- an outside the cab. De-icer and a smooth-edged scraper are essentials in these conditions, but the effect can be lessened by draping a towel or newspaper over the windscreen when parked up for the night. De-icer in the bottle of your screen-wash to remove residue that you may have missed is also a must. What you must not do to remove any built-up ice is pour boiling water over your windscreen. The sudden change in temperature actually shocks the glass and it shatters and it is unusual that a van insurance policy will pay out for a replacement in the face of ignorance of this fact.
3. Antifreeze – does what it says on the bottle Minus temperatures do not have favourites – anything that it can freeze, it will. As well as including fluid in your water bottle to protect your windscreen, your engine is very susceptible, too. Radiators rely on water circulating to keep the engine cool; as soon as the mercury dips below zero, your grill is going to be useless when the kit behind it is as solid as a house brick. All radiators are not made equal – somewhere within your manual you will have guidelines outlining where and to what level the antifreeze goes – your model may even have a recommended brand that works best with your van engine. This is one aspect many drivers genuinely forget – if you are one of those, make sure you have breakdown cover tagged on as an ancillary to your van insurance policy.
4. Charges that actually do you good Whilst we’re tinkering under the hood, examine your battery! What’s the first thing you do in the morning in winter before you set out to work, whilst you’re finishing your cuppa and before you plant a sloppy one on your other half’s cheek (just before they get back under the duvet)? Yep – nip out to the car and let the heater de-mist the inside of the windscreen as you prepare to tackle the exterior windows. Batteries don’t like the cold as it is and you’re just extracting more juice out of them as the engine idles, putting nothing back through the alternator. If you’re making any journey that will take you away from accessible help, check your van’s battery. If the battery’s due for replacing, do it before the winter weather sets in; if it’s just sluggish and conditions allow, give the van a run out to put some juice back into the battery.