There are an infinite amount of accessories available for your car, but what is particularly good to keep in the car this winter?
We asked our mechanics which accessories they picked out themselves, and what they recommend to other car owners. The following just might serve as inspiration for what could go be a cool winter gift for your car:
Top 10 Accessories
1. Ice scraper
Number one on the mechanics' list. When you scrape the ice off your car, you should be careful to remove all ice in the area which can be reached by the windscreen wipers. Otherwise, the rubber on the wipers will wear out too quickly.
2. Ice removal spray
You can buy a spray which makes it easier to scrape the ice off, and it can save you a few minutes on defrosting your windscreen.
3. Silicone stick for the car’s rubber strips
Anyone who experienced not being able to get the door open because it was frozen to the rubber strip, recognises the need to avoid that situation. A simple silicone stick, smeared on the car's rubber strip, can save you from a frozen situation.
4. Windscreen cover
If ice and snow are frequent visitors where you live, a cover (or blanket) on the windscreen can save you from having to get the ice scraper out. While not strictly necessary, it is nevertheless a neat accessory if you do not have a garage or underground parking.
If you need to drive in snow, it does not take much for the car to get stuck. Every year, thousands of people call for help. Often, just 3-4 shovels will give a wheel solid ground.
6. Winter tyres
Not really an accessory, since all mechanics choose to switch to winter tyres. But since experience tells us that 20-30 percent drive with summer tyres in winter, it is worth mentioning tyres as a vital investment in road safety. The alternative is to drive with summer tyres, and we quite frankly find that scary, knowing, as we do, how badly such tyres perform on an icy or snowy road.
7. Bulbs with extra light
Most of the factory-fitted bulbs on vehicles are halogen bulbs. They are cheap to produce and last a long time, but do not provide as much light as i.e. Xenon or LED.
You can get bulbs that give more than twice the amount of light. This provides a significant increase in traffic safety. The best bulbs also shine their light 30 percent further than standard bulbs, which makes it possible to see obstacles even earlier. The only downside is that the service life of these bulbs is shorter than the cheaper halogen bulbs.
8. Luggage box for tow bar
You can easily double the space in your boot with a storage box which is fitted directly onto the tow bar. This can give you 400 litres of extra space, although certain restrictions apply to the weight. Suddenly, you get room for all the extra clothes for the skiing trip. The advantage of mounting the luggage box on the tow bar is that, unlike a roof box, it does not adversely impact the vehicle's aerodynamics. Thus, you can achieve almost the same mileage.
9. New batteries
Mechanics know that the battery is at fault in the majority of the cars which are towed into the garage. Like you, mechanics cannot be bothered to be greeted by a cold and dead battery in the morning. Therefore, they choose to switch to a new or nearly new battery before the cold winter comes.
10. Lock lubricant spray
If you own a car which can only be opened with a key, you can end up in a frozen situation. Unfortunately, it happens every day that car owners find themselves unable to open their car, because the lock is frozen. This situation can be easily avoided, if only you make sure to lubricate it regularly using a small lock lubricant spray.
What accessories should be avoided?
Most accessories for the car are harmless, but at Autobutler, we believe that car-owners should be more aware of car accessories which can be detrimental to road safety. For example:
A car-freshener can obscure your view and often contains a lot of chemicals which can, at worst, cause allergies. If you want a nice scent, you may clean your car – or buy a special hypoallergenic fragrance for your air conditioning.
Dice or soft toys on the car mirror
They may look cute, but a pair of large plush dice take some of your vision, often at pedestrian height.
Too many cars enter the garage with damaged paintwork or windows because car-owners have been using homemade de-icing fluids. The damage is often caused by alcohol, but can also be due to salt mixtures which stick to the paintwork. Instead, you should buy a finished mixture adapted to delicate cars, or settle for the regular ice scraper.