Seeing as Britain gets pretty nippy every winter, and is set to be really cold this December, you’d think we’d know how to de-ice our cars safely.
On frosty mornings clearing the windscreen is a must; it’s illegal to drive with vision distorted or partly blocked.
So, how do you make sure you don’t end up with a frosted windscreen that requires several teeth-chattering minutes to de-ice in the morning?
Well, there are a few preventative measures you can take over the winter, as well as some tips to clean the screen as quickly as possible so you’re not standing in the freezing cold for too long.
How to stop your windscreen freezing
Here are a few tips to keep your windscreen clear:
- Rub half a raw onion on your car windows the night before temperatures plummet below 0. It’s a strange trick, but it will keep frost from forming on the glass.
- Spray the windows with vinegar or alcohol mixed with water to avoid frost. Try a 1:2 ratio of water to alcohol.
- Cover your windscreen with rubber bath mats or a folded sheet, using your windscreen wipers to keep it in place. Don’t forget the bag to put them in once you remove them.
- If your wiper blades freeze, rub them with alcohol to stop them sticking to the window.
- Use de-icer the night before
- Cover your wing mirrors with carrier bags secured with rubber bands to stop them freezing.
Do not do any of these things
- Use newspaper to protect your windows. It’s too thin and can freeze onto the windscreen.
- Use boiling water or a scraper. One can just freeze, or crack your windscreen if it’s too hot, while the other can scratch the glass.
How to defrost your windscreen safely
Defrosting cars are the kind of thing that tempts opportunist thieves to come out to play.
One very cold day in November 2016 saw a car stolen every five minutes as unsuspecting motorists left their engines running unattended.
AA technician Dean Hill described frosty mornings as “a gift” to car thieves.
Instead, the AA has a seven-point plan for de-icing your car safely.
- Stay with the car at all times. If you need to go back inside, switch the engine off and lock your car.
- Do not drive off until all the glass is clear (no clearing a mouse mat size gap and thinking ‘that will do’).
- Don’t leave wipers in ‘auto’ the night before a frost is expected. If they’re frozen to the glass in the morning it could damage the motor. Don’t try to force frozen wipers off the glass either.
- Never use freshly-boiled water to clear the glass. Water straight out of the kettle can crack the windscreen, freezes quickly and could ice your wipers to the windows.
- Clear all the snow off your car, making sure the radiator grille is clear to prevent the risk of the engine overheating. Make sure your lights are clean and working as well.
- Air conditioning can help dry the air and keep cold glass mist free.
- Don’t use your hands to wipe misted-up windows. They can leave greasy smears that obstruct your vision and any jewellery could scratch the glass. Use a lint-free absorbent cloth if necessary.