What should you always have in the luggage compartment?
You know winter has arrived when windows ice up and door locks freeze. There are a few things you should always have to hand to cope with all eventualities:
Ice scraper, brush and folding shovel – to remove snow and ice from your car
Rubber mats – to help you get going in an emergency
Woolen blanket – in case of long traffic jams or for use when fitting snow chains
Snow chains – to keep the vehicle moving even in extreme winter conditions.
Jump leads – to deal with starting problems or to help others.
Important information on starting assistance
Providing starting assistance is very simple. The following points must be noted to avoid short circuits:
Both batteries must have the same rated voltage (12 V).
The bodywork of the two vehicles must not make contact
The correct sequence is crucial:
Connect the red terminal (A) to the positive post of the flat battery.
Connect the red terminal (B) to the positive post of the full battery.
Connect the black terminal (A) to the negative post of the full battery.
Connect the black terminal (B) to engine or body ground (Attention: Never connect terminal to negative post of flat battery, as sparks could ignite explosive gases).
Start the engine.
Disconnect the terminals in reverse order.
Further information and important advice can be found in our Battery Guide.
How to get safely through the winter
Winter weather conditions can sometimes make driving a real challenge. The following points can help you master even the most difficult situations:
As a general rule you should always adapt your driving style to the weather conditions.
Watch out for differing road conditions (wet surface, leaves, frost, patches of snow etc.) as these are often responsible for accidents.
When driving on ice and snow, tires start to lose their grip and braking distances are greatly extended.
Adapt your speed to the ambient conditions and keep a greater distance from the vehicle in front.
Avoid powerful acceleration as well as abrupt braking and steering action.
Drive off slowly on snow-covered roads and inclines to stop the wheels spinning.
Driving off on ice and snow – how to avoid wheel spin:
Start off slowly in second gear, gently easing foot off clutch. Increase the wheel loads if appropriate to provide better tire grip. Important for front-wheel drive vehicles: Tackle (remote) inclines in reverse gear. Important for rear-wheel drive vehicles: Increase the ballast on the rear axle by loading the luggage compartment accordingly.
What are the advantages of winter tires?
Would you have known? A vehicle fitted with summer tires traveling on a snow-covered road needs a whole 43 meters to come to a standstill from a speed of 50 km/h. With winter tires a distance of only 35 meters is required. This is because summer tires no longer provide the necessary grip at temperatures below 7°C. Thanks to the special blend of rubber used and their coarser, usually deeper tread with additional sipes, winter tires ensure better adhesion.
Important information about winter tires:
The performance of winter tires deteriorates with decreasing tread depth and increasing age. We therefore recommend replacement when the tread depth is down to 4 mm or after 10 years at the latest. Professional guidance is important when buying, as there are considerable differences in quality.
Further information and important advice can be found in our Tire Guide.
What must be noted when driving with snow chains?
Even the best winter tires can do little to offset extreme weather conditions. Various points must be noted about using snow chains:
The chain size must be appropriate to the tires.
Keep the chains readily accessible in the vehicle.
Always fit the chains on the drive wheels.
Never drive faster than 50 km/h with snow chains fitted.
How to maintain good visibility in winter
Driving in winter can present car drivers with many challenges - including freezing rain, heavy snowfall and thick fog. You can rely on the following advice to guarantee good visibility even in tricky situations:
Drive with your lights on even during the day.
Wipe all the ice and snow off all windows and mirrors before starting off.
Clean the headlamps at regular intervals.
Only use the rear fog light if visibility drops below 50 m.
Make sure wiper blades are in good condition.
Place covers over the windshield and rear window of your vehicle when parked.
Keep the cleaning fluid and anti-freeze topped up in the windshield washer system
Further information and important advice can be found in our guide to Light and Sight.
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