Do’s and Donts of De-icing Windshields

Do’s and Donts of De-icing Windshields

It's very frustrating to go into sub-zero temperatures to remove ice and snow from your car or truck windshield, but since a windshield that isn’t properly de-iced can lead to poor visibility and can create safety issues, there's no avoiding this cumbersome task. Here are some “Do’s and Don'ts” that might make safely de-icing your windshield a little easier. Before you get behind the wheel on a cold winter’s morning, consider the following:

DO: Start the vehicle and use the defroster setting to gradually warm up your windshield. It may take at least five minutes to warm up, depending on the outside temperature and how long your car has been outside.

DON’T: Attempt to remove ice from a windshield before it starts to show visible signs of melting.

DO: Brush away any loose snow and ice with a plastic brush or broom, and use quick, short strokes with a plastic ice scraper to chip away the ice once it's partially melted.

DON’T: Pour hot water on your windshield to rush the de-icing process. Extreme temperature changes can actually stress your windshield to cause it to weaken or even crack.

DO: Clear snow and ice from the vehicle's tailpipe to reduce the chances of carbon monoxide flooding inside the car while it's warming up.

DON’T: Put vinegar, WD-40, hydrogen peroxide, or rubbing alcohol on your windshield. Vinegar is very acidic and will damage both the surface of your windshield and your wipers. Rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide can erode car paint.

DO: Prevent ice build-up by parking your car in a covered area, using a car cover, or covering your car with tarp tied down with bungee cables.

DON’T: Use metal ice scrapers, car keys, ice picks, knives, or sharp objects of any kind to remove ice from a windshield. No matter how careful you are, these metal objects can cause serious damage.

DO: Check your windshield wipers and make sure they are not coated with ice so they can work effectively when you hit the road.

DON’T: Pour antifreeze to prevent the water in your windshield water reservoir from freezing. Instead, buy a windshield washer fluid specifically designed for the winter months.

DO: Try a commercial de-icer. Although some of them may slightly speed up the process, some contain chemicals that you shouldn't expose to your windshield on a daily basis.

Most windshield de-icing damage is caused simply by practices prompted by impatience, so give yourself a little time every morning in the winter months.