We’ve all been there, that hand in the palm moment when your genius hack turns into an epic fail. Then comes the embarrassing moment of telling the tale as you desperately try to explain how, ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time!’.

When it comes to cars, winter is the season for mishaps. The cold weather can cause havoc, leading to some questionable solutions. To help you avoid an embarrassing situation, we’ve put together the biggest cold weather car fails we’ve heard people fall victim to.

Boiling water, cracked windscreen

In a rush to get to work? Don’t want the kids to be late for school? Many of us have poured boiling water on our windscreens when in a rush. After all, what harm can it do?

A lot! Pouring boiling water onto a windscreen is one of the oldest fails in the book, and for good reason. The quick change in temperature can cause a windscreen to crack or even completely shatter. And it happens more often than you’d think.

The water can also freeze onto the windscreen, compounding the problem you were trying to solve!

So, next time you’re in a rush, avoid using boiling water to de-ice your windscreen, or you could end up with a hefty bill.

Impromptu ice scrapers

And when trying to clear your windscreen of ice, stick to an ice scraper.

We’ve heard horror stories of people using whatever was at hand, including a credit card (it snapped, just to confirm your suspicions!).

Using the correct equipment for the job will also protect your windscreen from scratches.

Make sure your car’s fully de-iced

Whatever you do, make sure your windscreen and windows are fully de-iced before starting your journey.

Failure to do so will limit your visibility, which isn’t only a fail, but is dangerous. Plus, you’ll end up having to pull over and try to de-ice your car on the side of the road.

Windscreen wiper woes

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Many of us have been left ruing these words on freezing winter mornings when our windscreen wipers are immovably frozen to the windscreen.

No matter how frustrating it is, whatever you do, don’t try and operate the windscreen wipers while they’re frozen to the windscreen. Doing so could scratch the windscreen, break the wipers, and even burn out the motor – making frozen wiper blades the least of your worries.

Stick to de-icer, an ice scraper and your car’s heating system to get the windscreen free of ice and those pesky wipers unstuck. The Halfords 5-Piece Winter Kit is the perfect solution. It contains a 2-in-1 pre-icer and de-icer, screen wash, de-icer concentrate, chamois demister pad, and an ice scraper – everything you could possibly need on a freezing winter morning.

Don’t let the screenwash run dry

Preparing your car for winter is important and one of the key steps is to ensure your car is topped up with screenwash. Without it, the wet winter roads will flood your windscreen with dirt and grime – as many poor motorists have discovered the hard way. It’s also illegal to drive without screenwash in your car’s windscreen washer reservoir.

Also, make sure you pick a screenwash with a low freezing temperature and follow the guidelines on the bottle for the correct concentration. A good option, the Halfords -20 Ready Mixed Screenwash features a safe and ready-to-use formula that helps prevent your windscreen from re-freezing, while keeping it clean and dirt-free.

Leaving keys in the ignition

Defrosting a car can take longer than we’d like. We can spend ages scraping away at the ice, leaving the keys in the ignition as the heater works its magic.

Then comes the dreaded moment when you’ve finally finished but realise you’ve locked yourself out of your car. Cue some extravagant language and panic.

We’ve even heard stories of opportunistic thieves jumping into cars and driving away. Compounding the misery, many insurance companies refuse payouts for cars that are stolen while defrosting with the key in the ignition.

So, only leave the key in the ignition when you’re also in the car.

Snow joke

Admittedly, snow is less of a problem for UK drivers compared to other countries. Yet we’ve still cringed at some impressive snow related winter fails.

First up, opening your window is not the best method for clearing snow – unless you want to turn your car into a snow globe. Make sure you clear your car roof, windows and windscreen with a snow brush and it’s best to use an ice scraper afterwards. If you’re looking for the perfect snow-removal accessory, look no further than the Halfords Telescopic Snow Broom and Ice Scraper. It features a squeegee and brush at one end, and an ice scraper at the other, making it a must-have for winter driving.

Also, try to avoid snow drifts. It’s easily done when parking, but driving into a snow drift can damage your car’s bumper. No one wants to hear that crunch as another bumper falls victim to a car driving fail.

How to…

That’s enough fails to send a shiver down your spine, so how about some top tips to finish off. Here’s a quick guide on how to safely navigate the winter months:

  • How to de-ice – De-icing a car is something we all have to do, so knowing how to do it properly is important. While there may be hacks out there, the simplest way is with a de-icer spray and ice scraper. You can also use your car’s heating, which will slowly warm the windscreen.
  • Leave yourself an extra 10 minutes – De-icing a car takes time, and many of the fails mentioned on this list occur when you’re in a rush. So, make sure you give yourself an extra 10 minutes every morning.
  • How to drive in the snow – Always accelerate gently and get to a higher gear as quickly as possible – it’s all about a high gear, low revs. Take things steady and remember that your stopping distance is much longer, so leave more space between you and any vehicles in front.
  • How to drive in icy conditions – Much like driving in the snow, it’s important to take it steady. Leave plenty of stopping distance between you and the car in front, and drive slowly. If you find yourself skidding, remember to take your foot off the accelerator and the brake.
  • How to protect your wiper blades – Contrary to some myths, lifting your wiper blades away from the windscreen won’t cause damage, but will prevent them from getting frozen to the glass. On top of this, always make sure your windscreen is thoroughly de-iced, otherwise your wiper blades are likely to get worn down.

Introducing the Halfords Motoring Club

Another way to keep moving, stay safe and keep saving is to access a range of amazing benefits and discounts by joining the Halfords Motoring Club.

It’s free to join and you’ll receive money off your MOT, a free car health check and a welcome voucher that can be spent on any Halfords product or service.

Or choose our Premium membership for a small monthly fee (or a one-off payment) to unlock exclusive member pricing on all motoring products and services online and across our stores, garages and Halfords Mobile Experts, as well as a variety of other benefits that will help you to keep moving for less.

With so much to enjoy, this is too good an opportunity to miss!

Join the Halfords Motoring Club today at www.halfords.com/motoring-club.

Hopefully we’ve helped you avoid some embarrassing mishaps and frustrating mornings with these tips. For everything you need to safely navigate the colder months, head over to Halfords.com. Why not also visit our help and advice centre for lots more useful motoring guidance?

You want to drive safely through the winter, you want Halfords.