It’s always unsafe to drive when you cannot clearly see through your windshield. Additionally, it is very important to ensure all the ice and snow has been removed from your windshield so that you can enhance driver visibility and importantly safety for the passengers, the driver and other people using the road. If you reside in an area with a very cold winter this guide will should be very helpful to you. We will discuss how to remove ice from your windshield in the first section, while in the second section I will show you to prevent ice and snow getting there in the first place. Prevention is better than cure.
This method may involve as may as 6 steps but some of them are simply different methods using different products and techniques.
- Start the engine of your car and allow it to sit in idle and warm-up for at least 15 minutes. Most cars have a defrost setting for the rear window and a fan that will push warm air through the dashboard vents and on to the inside of the windshield. Turn both of them on and wait approximately 15 minutes and let the ice begin to melt and loosen. If the car has been exposed to the elements for some time and the ice is much thicker it may take much longer for the ice to begin melting. Make sure there is no ice or snow blocking the tailpipe before starting the engine or you may accidentally kill yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not use water to try and defrost the windshield. Hot water can cause the windshield to break due to the rapid temperature change and cold water can create more ice.
- Make a saltwater solution and spray it on the windshield. Spray it sparingly as excessive saltwater can damage the windshield. Saltwater will dissolve the ice through a series of chemical reactions. An added bonus is that the ions in the saltwater solution lowers the freezing point of water making it more difficult for ice to reform. Road salt is more powerful and effective than regular table salt and it will dissolve the ice much quicker. Use road salt if possible but if you don’t have any table salt will work fine.
- Make a solution of water and alcohol and spray it on the windshield. Mix 2 parts rubbing alcohol with 2 part water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution liberally as it will not damage the windshield or car like the saltwater solution can. If you add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to the solution it will lower the freezing points of water and help the ice to melt quicker and prevent it from reforming so easily.
- Buy a commercial de-icing product. If money is no object you can buy a commercial product that will do a great job. You can buy them at your local auto supply store.
- You can now remove the ice using your wipers, squeegee or a soft bristled brush. Now that your solution has been applied the partly melted ice can be removed with one of these tools.
- Store an ice scrapper in your car. If you have no other supplies or solutions handy an ever-reliable ice scrapper is your best friend. Keep one in the trunk so that you can access it at all times.
You have a few options to choose from.
- Cover your windshield. This method is only suitable in areas with light snowfall as lots of snow makes it difficult to remove the covering. A sheet, towel or tarp will all work well. If your using a towel or sheet I recommend that you soak the towel or sheet in a saltwater solution first and them lay the damp covering over the windshield and secure it with the wipers. This method will not work well in high winds. Mix one tablespoon of salt with 1 litre (quart) of water and soak the covering in it. The towel or sheet can be re-used many times. Just store it in a plastic bag and keep it damp with a little bit of water when you’re not using it.
- Apply a homemade or commercial ice prevention solution to your defrosted windshield at night. Either buy a commercial spray or mix 3 parts vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle and it will prevent ice forming on your windshield. Use the vinegar solution sparingly as overuse can permanent damage to the windshield. Vinegar solution will oxidise with metal causing rust and corrosion so don’t spray it on to metal and if you do wipe it off with water. You must be careful when trying this method and while it is effective if you do it wrong you will damage your vehicle.
- Put some rubbing alcohol and a few drops of dishwashing liquid into your water reservoir. This is such a simple tip but it is one of my favourites. Not only will the alcohol and dishwasher liquid lower the freezing point of water and prevent ice forming but it will also prevent the water from freezing.
- Completely cover your car with a tarp. Fasten the tarp with bungee cables or rope to prevent it from slipping and blowing away.
- Park your car undercover. This is the best way to prevent ice from forming on your windshield.
Now you know the best ways to remove ice, and to prevent ice from forming on your windshield.