Winter Is HERE...... How best to De-Ice Your Car

Winter gives many car owners a sense of pride as the days shorten and temperatures dip. There is no standing in the cold waiting for public transport, you have your own private heat source, and - in the case of 4x4 owners - ease of travel with your all wheel drive system. But as much as cars themselves are generally the preferred choice for anyone in the depths of a British winter, there are some things the elements throw our way that even the most advanced forms of technology can’t seem to stop.

In the case of car owners, this is ice - or, more specifically, ice on your windscreens. There are often in-built tools to help, but you always want to give them a helping hand to speed up your morning. There are myths that should be ignored, as well as handy tricks that can help you out on frosty, winter mornings.

Car De-icing Myths

There are a few things that you must NOT do when de-icing your car, as much as they are thought to. These methods are more likely to do harm than good, so are best to avoid.

Throwing Boiling Water on the Windscreens

This could prove to be a costly and time consuming. By throwing hot water on your car, you risk cracking the windscreen due to the rapid change in temperature, which is definitely something you will want to avoid doing. There can even be circumstances where, if the temperature is that cold outside, when you throw the boiling water at the windscreen, it will simply turn into a white powder.

Using nothing but a de-icing scraper

De-icing scrapers aren’t just a piece of slightly sharp plastic, they have been made to get the ice off of your vehicle in the best way without causing any damage. The credit card seems to often be people’s tool of choice, but even that small piece of plastic can scratch your average windscreen if you aren’t careful. You also risk snapping the card, which around Christmas time is never something anyone wants to be doing.

How to de-ice your car

There are a multitude of ways that are very effective in helping you de-ice your vehicle. Obviously, you can buy pre-made solutions, but for those people who are more about living in the moment (i.e. don’t own any), then here are a few tips.

  • Lukewarm water with a few teaspoons of salt poured over a windscreen will turn the ice translucent, making it much easier to scrape off the car.

  • A solution of 3 parts white vinegar to 1 part lukewarm water does the same trick, except loosens the ice even more, making it slide off your windscreen as well as softening.

  • Another solution that works well is a 2 part white spirit to 1 part lukewarm water mixture, doing the same trick as the vinegar solution above.

Along with your car’s de-icer system, these different solutions are ideal in removing ice from your windscreens in as fast a time as possible. Be careful to get as little of the solutions on your vehicle's metal work as possible, as over exposure could corrode the metal over time if applied too generously.

If you know that the night ahead is going to result in an icy windscreen, then there is a trick that will speed up the entire process. All you need is an old towel, and one of the solutions from above (preferably the salt water solution). Soak the towel in the solution, and lay it on your windscreen overnight. Salt water has a much lower freezing temperature than just plain old water, hence when you remove the towel in the morning, your screen will be ice free straight away.

Another handy trick is to add some teaspoons of white spirit into your windshield washer fluid. This way you can sit in the warmth and comfort of your car, simply pressing a button and seeing the ice melt right in front of you.

Dan Brown