Land Rover Defender Blog

Winterise Your Land Rover

It's never too late to get your Landy ready for winter. With more bad weather forecast over the next week and the coming months, it will be well worth the effort. Today we take a look at a few ways you can take the chill from your mornings and help your Land Rover run a little warmer, even when the rest of nation is grinding to a halt.

Ben Gribbin

Ben Gribbin

December 13, 2010

Hello, I'm the editor of FunRover. I'm a massive Land Rover fan. Currently own a TD5 90. 2015 MR Blogger of the Year


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1. Rad Muff

Land Rovers are the ultimate offroad machines, but just because you can take one through the desert, into the Ardennes or through a 4 foot deep river, it doesn't mean they are the most comfortable vehicle. Land Rovers are utility vehicles and when it gets cold, it gets really cold. Newer models such as the Discovery and Range Rover perform exactly as a normal vehicle would in terms of occupant comfort, but Defenders and series vehicles leave a lot to be desired. If you own a Defender or Series Landy, consider buying (Diy version here) a Radiator Muff. These drop or mount over your grill and block off cool air from making it's way into the engine bay. This means your engine gets up to temperature faster and you get a warmer heater - faster. Better designs have an adjustable flap in the center to allow some adjusting of the airflow, meaning your engine doesn't overheat.

The Exmoor Trim Rad Muff

ReedX DIY Rad Muff made from a car matt

Exmoor Trim produce a very high-end radiator muff, with a central flap that can be adjusted to control airflow. Alternatively check out Rugged Guide's winch and wade blankets, which will have a similar effect and can be used as a winch wire arrestor in the event of the wire snapping.

2. Snow Vent

Unfortunately, the heater vent for the Defender is placed right on the wing top. Due to the design, it get's covered in snow and can render your heater ineffective, unless cleared occasionally. The Army spec Wolf Land Rovers (based on Defenders) have a clever heater vent specifically designed for use in snow. It can be a little tough to track down, but this store appears to sell them and they will occasionally appear on eBay. It works by sucking air upwards, rather than sky-down and so you get fresh, clean, snow flake free air. You can now purchase ABS versions from MUD UK and Terrafirma.

3. Fuel Burning / Night Heater

To get your Landy really warm, a Night Heater or Fuel Burning Heater are the way forward. These can be positioned behind or in front of the bulkhead and once up and running offer a large stream of toasty, hot air. FBH are ideally placed in the rear of the cab or just behind your drivers seat and make a huge difference. The only catch with these, they're not cheap. A basic, 2KW Webasto unit is around £900. Obviously, you can shop around on auction sites to pick up a bargain and it's a recommended modification provided you have the funds. The difference made is massive, particularly if you camp in the back of your Landy. Devon 4x4 stock a very similar model to the one we have (though ours is around 11 years old now and still going strong) so it might be worth checking the reviews out on this Webasto heater.

That is, unless you want a more advanced version, which nearly triples the heat output and has features such as a pre-heater and timer - reducing mornings spent scraping ice from the inside of your Land Rover to a distant memory. Webasto Thermo Top C.

4. Lining & Insulation

Another great way of keeping the cold at bay is to line and insulate the interior. Our test vehicle is basically just your average hard-top van, which from the factory are seriously devoid of anything remotely resembling an interior. It's well worth lining the sides of your hard-top, as well as the floor as this really does reduce heat loss and road noise. The best thing about lining your Landy? It's an easy DIY job that could cost you as little as £20. You can achieve some pretty professional results, especially if you then cover your ply lining with automotive carpet. Matt from the Land Rover Blog recently posted an article on how he customized the back of his 110 with a view to eventually making it into a makeshift camper.

Alternatively, for those who are short on time or lacking the skills needed to make your own, you can chose from the many pre-made products available on the market.

Mud UK Van Lining

An attractive, professional set of van sides, made from hard wearing, tough ABS plastic. Check out MUD UK.

TGE Land Rover Interiors

TGE are specialists in the manufacturing of side protection trims for Land Rovers. They have several options available, such as fitment for a 110 or 90. Visit TGE.

5. Oil the door seals

No, we are not suddenly doing a cookery blog. Oiling your door seals with a suitable lubricant, such as Vaseline, cooking oil or similar will help repel moisture and discourage the seals from freezing to the door. Make sure you buff off the excess so as to not smear your clothes each time you jump in the cab.

6. Fume Curtain

If you have a soft-top Defender, 109 or similar then fit a fume curtain. These canvas sheets trap between the hood sticks and create a smaller, more quickly heated space. They also help block out some of the fumes, hence the name. A fume curtain can be made very cheaply with some canvas or tarp and a sewing machine.

7. Don't forget your Brake Lights, Headlights and Reg Plate

Don't forget to clear off your registration plate, headlights and brake lights, when de-icing the windscreen, other wise you could find yourself with the wrong kind of 'heat'. In some areas, Police will fine drivers £60 for failing to clean their registration plates of snow.

8. Lube your locks

Use a little WD40 or light machine oil in the locks to prevent them from freezing solid and you getting locked out.

Do you have any tips for prepping your Landy for winter?

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  1. Richard says:

    The car mat rad muff is a great idea. Wish I’d thought of that before shelling out on a Rugged Guide item. There’s always the farmer’s plastic sack of course. Always use undiluted screen wash to minimise freezing and remember to keep it topped up. I stuck an Eberspacher in my 90 after two winters of driving in hat and gloves – worth the investment.

  2. Glad you like the car mat rad muff idea, the Red Defender is mine and I came up with the idea back whilst at Uni. Worked a treat and I still use it today. Keep on motoring and watch for frostbite… Guy

  3. Dubsta says:

    Good article!

    Be careful though about smearing petroleum based lubricants on to door seals as it can rot them.

    I have a Webasto I keep meaning to fit. Bit of a job but I’m sure it’ll be worth it!

    Excellent website btw. Keep up the good work.

    • Ben Gribbin Ben Gribbin says:

      Great advisory Dubsta, thanks for pointing that out! The Webasto is a brilliant piece of kit, it will really take the chill out of the cab, especially if you get it running 5 minutes before jumping in.

  4. Anne Fowler says:

    A webasto heater kept our TD5 90 alive on a recent trip in the artic circle, in temperatures dropping to around -40 degrees C. Another tip for freeing frozen doorlocks – hand sanitiser gel squirted in – worked a treat. We also put extra thick rubber matting and wool carpet underlay under the existing cab flooring.

  5. Hello all. I live in the Swiss alpes and have used a 110 defender for our business for a few years now so have a few tips on winter prep!
    When it gets really cold here -25 sometimes you will find that the doors won’t shut however hard you slam them, the reason for this is the grease that is used from new will not take the cold and it gets very thick and gluey,this will not allow the catch inside the lock to freely drop and the doors don’t shut!
    Solution — in the Summer take out the locks de grease completely and just spray with a little wd40 no grease job done!
    the radiator muff is also a good buy.

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