How to de-ice a car windscreen

05 January 2018

Leaving your house in the morning to find your car iced over is not a great start to any day. The excruciating cold that writhes through the tips of your fingers and into your body as you struggle to scratch, scrape and shovel it off your car is also just as unpleasant.

So, how do you de-ice a car? What’s the best way? Well, we’ve got a few hints and tips to help you get your car back in tip-top shape as soon as possible.

How to de ice your car windscreen safely

How to de-ice your windscreen

The area of your car most likely to suffer from an ice blast is the windscreen; the biggest area of glass on a normal car.

The first thing you want to do is to turn your engine on and turn the heat in your car up to maximum or on a ‘defrost’ setting, if it has one. This will make the car heat up the affected glass areas and slowly but surely melt the ice away.

If you’re not in a rush, you can sit and wait for your car to melt the entire ice sheet away. It could take between 15 and 20 minutes for the ice to completely evaporate and make driving away safe. However, if the thought of waiting that long before you can get away is too much to handle, there are ways of speeding up the process.

Use a De-Icer Spray

You can either use a homemade or commercial de-icer spray in order to help with removing the ice quicker. Commercial sprays can often be found in most garages and major supermarkets for a few pounds but homemade solutions can be made with the right ingredients.

In order to make a homemade one, you’ll need to make a 2:1 rubbing alcohol to cold water solution. You can add road or normal table salt to cold water in order to improve the strength of the solution. Salt contains ions which will make your car windscreen less susceptible to re-freezing, as well as also causing a chemical reaction.

There’s a good reason as to why we wouldn’t recommend using warm or hot water, which we’ll come to later.

De ice your car easily

Using an Ice Scraper or Brush

In addition to using a combination of your own car’s temperature functions and spray, you can chip away at the ice by using either a scraper or a brush. This will allow you to gently peel away at some of the ice using short strokes to really get to the heart of your ice problem.

Also, make sure you use an actual ice scraper and not an alternative (such as a credit card) as scraping at your windscreen with anything else can badly damage the glass.

Can you use hot water to de-ice a windscreen?

It seems like the obvious thing to do in order to get rid of ice but using warm or hot water to get rid of ice can seriously damage your windscreen.

The temperature change from freezing cold to warm or hot conditions can cause the glass of your windscreen to respond negatively and crack or even shatter. Leaving you with more problems than just losing a few minutes of your time.

How to stop a car windscreen from icing

How can you stop a car windscreen getting ice in the first place though?

One simple option is to park in an area where direct sunlight will be on the car straight from sunrise.

This, however, isn’t a foolproof way to prevent ice from building up, especially if you live in a built-up area or the weather is considerably below freezing. When the temperature hovers around 0 degrees though, a bit of prolonged sunlight could see the ice on your car melt away before you even wake up in the morning.

The other way is to use a car cover the night before in order to prevent frost and ice settling on your windscreen. Car covers and tarpaulins can be bought for minimal cost and can dramatically help you to keep your car ice-free in the mornings. Although, you will need to work a little bit to take the cover on and off your car.

Not a n-ice problem to have

At the end of the day, Mother Nature is a force that no matter what we as humans do we just have to put up with. During the dark days of winter it’s inevitable that the cold weather will affect us and make us rethink and adapt our daily schedules. Hopefully though, we’ve been able to provide you with a few friendly tips in order to help you to get your car warmed up in the morning that little bit quicker.

Tagged with:

  • Car Tips
  • How to guides
Author -
Content Writer Thomson Local

Away from his role as a Content Writer for Thomson Local, you’ll find Craig writing about either football or video games at a myriad of sites and publications. He’s had words featured in The Guardian, Eurogamer, Nutmeg and his own site Pause Resume. He’s also currently in the process of attaining a degree in Creative Writing with the Open University.

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