Clearing the windscreen has to be one of the most annoying car maintenance tasks required of motorists during winter. Spending extra time in your already busy morning routine clearing snow and ice from your car can be a tedious task, and there’s always the temptation to hit the road before everything’s clean and clear.
Thankfully, there are plenty of quick-fix ways to de-ice your windscreen without spending ages out in the cold. Follow our tips below to learn how to de-ice your windscreen quickly and safely.
Before you do anything – even switching on the engine – ensure the wipers are in the ‘off’ position. If you fail to check this, you risk tearing the rubber and damaging the wiper motor since they could have frozen to the windscreen. Once you're certain that they're off, you can safely switch on the engine.
The first step is to turn on the warm blowers and point them toward the windscreen. It can be beneficial to turn on the air conditioning at this stage, as this will help to prevent misting and will remove excess moisture from the air.
Next, use a de-icer spray on all glass surfaces of your car's exterior while the heating system gets to work. We’d recommend a premium de-icer that cuts through thick ice and prevents refreezing. Spray liberally around 20cm away, working in smooth, even lines to maximise coverage and effectiveness.
From there, you can wait for the de-icer to work its magic or encourage things along with an ice scraper. Only ever use a tool that’s built for removing ice or you risk scratching the glass.
How long de-icing takes will depend on how much ice is on your car, how cold it is, and how effective your car’s heating system is. You should also remember that the de-icing doesn’t necessarily stop once you’ve set off.
If there are other bits of ice on your windscreen, spraying washer fluid should help to remove it – provided your washer bottle is topped up with winter-ready screen wash, that is. Replacing your wiper blades before winter can also work wonders in keeping your windscreen clear, whether you’re facing heavy rain, hail or snow.
For more tips on travelling safely in adverse conditions, read our guide.
In a pinch and need to get moving? Unfortunately, you still need to fully de-ice the car to ensure you maintain a clear view of the road ahead.
Driving with impaired visibility could land you with a £100 fine and three points on your licence, so it’s in your best interest to ensure this doesn’t happen.
We know that de-icing your car can be annoying, but you shouldn’t cut corners with it. Sure, hacks like pouring hot water over the windscreen might work in a video you’ve seen, but we don’t recommend that you try it. Using hot water to melt ice can cause your glass to crack as it quickly expands and contracts due to extreme temperature differences.
The best and fastest way to de-ice your car is by using a de-icer spray that works at low temperatures, as well as a scraper. Once your heaters and the A/C are switched on, you can work on removing the ice as it melts. The spray will help loosen it enough to be safely scraped away. Just remember to be gentle – you don’t want to damage the glass.
Of course, some cars now have features allowing for remote heating, rapid defrosting, and quick-clear technology, which can really speed up your morning.
Here are some of our top tips to keep in mind when the temperatures drop:
Use a de-icer that will be effective even at extremely cold temperatures. Look for products that work down to -15°C as a minimum in the UK.
Invest in a snow and ice scraper. One with a long handle and added snow-brush attachment can be great for clearing white powder from your car’s roof.
Turn on climate control and any other heating elements in your car. Things like heated wing mirrors can be great for clearing snow and ice quickly.
Use a lint-free absorbent cloth or demister pad to remove condensation from the windows.
Never use hot, boiling or even warm water to melt ice on your car. The extreme and rapid change in temperature can cause the glass to shatter – the opposite of what you want when you’re trying to get to work.
Be wary of refreezing. Use a de-icer that protects against refreezing to ensure maximum visibility.
Prevent a frozen windscreen in the first place – Use a windscreen cover or park in a garage to prevent ice from building up on your car overnight.
For more information on preparing your car for the winter ahead, check out our top tips.
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