As the morning temps begin to dip below freezing, most of us have noticed a little frost on our windshields— and clearing the ice eats up valuable time in our morning routines. As we prepare for even more winter weather, here are a few pro tips for de-icing your windshield.
Plan ahead if you can (wake up early)
This is is more important than people realize. If you don’t leave yourself sufficient time to de-ice your car, you consequently risk being late to work and, more often than not, do a half-hearted job before speeding out the driveway. The leftover ice and snow will limit your visibility which can put you, and any passengers, in a dangerous position.
It’s best to leave yourself at least 15 extra minutes to warm up your car and de-ice all windows. Having extra time to kill is always better than trying to rush.
Start your car before you start scraping.
Start the vehicle and use the defroster setting to warm the glass. Wait at least five minutes for the glass to warm up. It is important to not turn your heater on full blast right away, as sudden temperature changes can potentially damage your windshield.
This will not only make it easier to get all the ice off the windshield but warming up the car’s engine will ultimately help your car run better in cooler temps.
Invest in a quality scraping tool.
This is New England, people. With the sleet, snow, and other variations of wintry mix we get, a cheap, flimsy scraper won’t cut it; everyone in snow-prone areas needs a quality ice scraper. A basic scraper typically has a plastic scraper with a soft bristle brush to remove all the ice and snow and a squeegee will help to completely clean the windows for optimal visibility, but there are countless options available. You can choose from classic tools like the Snow Joe Telescoping Snow Broom or the SNOBRuM Snow Removal Tool to the new Scrape A Round Ice Scraper. In New England, especially, look for tools that are designed for heavy-duty ice and snow removal and safe on automotive surfaces.
Use de-icing spray.
If scraping doesn’t appeal to you (we understand!), or you just want to make the process a little easier, de-icer spray penetrates and speeds up the removal of light snow, ice, and frost. It does the hard work for you, so you can easily push the frosty remnants off the glass. Some, such as 1Z Einszett Anti-Frost Washer Fluid, or McKee’s 37 Anti-Frost Windshield Washer Fluid work down to -20°F and help to prevent ice from reforming.
Most winter mixes of windshield fluid also have some kind of de-icing component in them, or you can add your own. For example, Wurth Windshield Wash Additive combines antifreeze and cleaner to will keep your windshield clean and frost-free; simply add it to your windshield washer fluid according to the directions.
If you don’t have a spray, you can make one with common household cleaning products. While there are many recipes available online, it’s generally safer to use a rubbing alcohol solution as there is less risk of damage to your car’s paint and to the seal around the windshield.
At V&F, we strive to provide our customers with a well-rounded knowledge of all things automotive. Since 1988, our family-owned and operated service center has been providing top-quality auto repair services to Agawam, Feeding Hills, Southwick, West Springfield, and the surrounding Massachusetts communities. If your car needs maintenance or repair before this winter season, call us at (413)314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.
This article was originally published in 2019 and has been updated annually as best practices evolve.