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Driving For Members

How should you prepare your car for autumn (and winter) in Denmark?

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
How should you prepare your car for autumn (and winter) in Denmark?
What should car owners in Denmark keep in mind when the temperature drops? Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

It’s common for motorists in Denmark to switch between summer and winter tyres once autumn sets in, but do conditions in the country call for anything else?

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You might not have noticed based on the weather, but calendars are proof that autumn has arrived in Denmark.

With that in mind, it’s inevitable that conditions on the roads will be taking a wetter and colder turn sooner or later. What steps are usually taken by motorists in Denmark at this time of year to set their vehicles up for the coming months?

Winter tyres 

Winter tyres are not a legal requirement in Denmark but they are generally recommended, including by FDM, the membership organisation for motorists.

Tyres which qualify as winter tyres are marked “M + S”, which stands for “Mud and Snow” and have a mountain and snowflake symbol.

While the law does not require you to use winter tyres, you do have to have matching tyre types. So it is illegal to, for example, keep normal tyres on the front of your car and just change the rear tyres in the winter.

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It is common to switch over to winter tyres in the ‘autumn holiday’ or efterårsferie around the second half of October. Many car owners keep a second set of wheels with winter tyres in their basements or garages, or at “tyre hotels” in workshops who can also change the wheels for you and store the summer tyres in place of the winter set.

READ ALSO: Driving in Denmark: When should you change to winter tyres?

Check your battery

Car batteries work harder when it is cold, particularly when the temperatures drop below zero. If you have an older car or an older battery, it might therefore be a good idea to ask a mechanic to check it.

When it’s cold, you’re likely to be using functions like the internal fans and heaters which will put additional drain on the battery.

Make sure your windscreen is clear

It’s important to get your windscreen clear before you head out, even on shorter journeys. This goes for both ice and condensation and a windscreen that is not properly cleared and therefore limits your vision can get you a “clip” or points on your driving licence, as well as being a safety hazard.

Make sure you have a good quality ice scraper in the car, and get the motor and windscreen heaters running in good time before you set off.

“Wing mirrors, headlights and number plates must also be free of ice and snow” said Rasmus Boserup, head of communications with energy company OK, in a press release. OK operates petrol stations across Denmark.

READ ALSO: How strict are the punishments for driving offences in Denmark?

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Change your wiper blades

Drivers often use their windscreen wipers to help scrape the remaining frost from windshields. This can wear down the wiper blades, resulting in squeaking and inefficient performance in rainy weather conditions.

Ideally, you should avoid this and stick to a scraper and the heating system to clear ice. It’s nevertheless a good idea to treat your vehicle to a new set of wiper blades if you notice a deterioration.

Put a high-viz jacket or vest and hazard triangle in your car

If you break down and pull over to the side of the motorway or road, you’ll need a relective hazard triangle (advarselstrekant in Danish), which must be placed behind the car to warn approaching drivers about your stricken vehicle. These are required by law if you’ve broken down (although it’s technically not a legal requirement to have one in the car) – so it’s worth having one in the boot/trunk.

In addition to this, a high-visibility jacket, vest or other clothing is a very good idea if you have to pull over, and even more so when it’s dark or in the winter when visibility is generally poorer than in summer.

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