How To De-Ice Your Car
Quick Tips For Frosty Mornings
We’ve all experienced that morning panic - perhaps you’re running late for the school drop off or your alarm didn’t go off and you’re late for work. But these kinds of situations are always made worse when you realise that the car needs de-icing. This task could take five to 10 minutes of your time that you just don’t have, however there are some tips and tricks that could make this task a little bit easier.
How to de-ice a car
De-icing a car doesn’t just involve clearing the windscreen - you should take the time to remove any ice from the windows and the rear window, as well as clear the condensation on the inside too. Below, you can find methods for defrosting your car windows as well as de-icing the windscreen to get you on the road in no time.
How to de-ice a windscreen
There are a few methods that you can use to de-ice a windscreen, so try them all to see which you prefer.
With a scraper
Using a scraper to manually remove the ice from your windscreen is one of the most popular methods. When de-icing your car in this way, you should first turn the engine on and turn the fans on, selecting the setting that means they’re blasting air directly at the windscreen. Though this air will be cold, it’s still above freezing and therefore could help to soften that ice a little bit.
While the engine is running, use a plastic scraper to remove the ice from the windscreen, windows and rear window until you’re certain that you’ll be able to drive safely with full visibility. Remember to never leave your car unattended while the engine is running, as this can be a good opportunity for thieves to steal the car.
This method can be more hard work than some of the others we’ve listed below, but it’s still effective.
With de-icer spray
There are special chemical sprays available that make quick work of de-icing your windscreen. You simply spray the solution onto the windscreen and watch the ice melt away. Just be sure to store the can inside - if you store it in your car, the solution can be too cold and freezes as it touches the windscreen.
These sprays are quite powerful and smell very strongly of ethanol, and so if you wanted to, you could try making your own equivalent at home. The key is to use substances that have a lower freezing point than water, such as vinegar or rubbing alcohol.
To make a vinegar-based de-icer, simply mix one part water with three parts white vinegar. Mix together in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the mix onto the windscreen and you should see the ice melt straightaway.
Alternatively, you can make a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol instead. Mix one third of a cup of water with two thirds rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and apply to the windscreen. These DIY methods use more natural ingredients and cost less than a can of de-icer.
With warm water
One of the quickest ways to melt ice is to apply heat, and that’s exactly what this final method involves.
Take a plastic bag or a sandwich bag and fill it with warm water (not hot or boiling water). At this point, you may want to check that the bag doesn’t have any holes in it where the water could leak out. Seal the bag using an elastic band, or simply hold it with your hand, and slowly slide the bag of warm water over your windscreen. The ice should start to melt and you should be able to wipe it away with a cloth or by turning on your windscreen wipers. You can reuse the same bag every day to prevent throwing it away.
You should never use boiling water or pour water straight from the kettle over your windscreen, as the extreme change in temperature could cause your windscreen to crack.
How to defrost car windowsHave you ever got in your car and tried to put the windows down only to find they’re frozen solid? Scraping the ice off the window will likely improve visibility, but you still won’t be able to put it down. Therefore, using the warm water method mentioned above is likely going to be the best option. This is because it will thoroughly thaw all of the ice around the window.
How to clean snow off a car
It’s not just ice that we have to clear off our cars, but snow too. It can be dangerous to drive with snow on the roof as it can fall off and hit other cars, causing them to swerve or brake suddenly.
Ice can gather underneath this snow too, and there have been instances where it has come off in one large sheet.
The best way to clean snow off a car is with a snow broom. These devices have a long handle with a soft brush on the end so you can get right onto the roof easily without scratching your car’s paintwork. Alternatively, you could use a soft cloth, though it may be harder to reach the roof if you have a large vehicle.
How to prevent your car from icing over
It’s all well and good doing the above to clear your car before going anywhere, but what if you could prevent your car from icing over altogether? The best way to do this is to cover the windscreen with something that will prevent the ice from getting in. You could use a large piece of cardboard, a magnetic cover or even an old bedsheet. This will make setting off in the morning that little bit easier.
You can prevent your wing mirrors from icing up too by placing plastic bags over the mirrors and securing with an elastic band. Make sure you use the same bags each time to prevent waste.
If you leave the house after the sun has come up, you may also wish to use the sun’s natural warmth to heat your car, so where possible, park it so it’s facing east. This method isn’t going to be that helpful if you leave early in the morning or when it’s still dark, but for those that leave a little bit later, it could make the de-icing process a bit easier.
We hope you found this blog interesting. You might be interested in reading our related post on driving in icy conditions.