Winter has well and truly arrived in North Staffordshire causing havoc on our roads.
As the temperature drops, any car owner will be well aware of the annoyance of coming outside to find a frozen windscreen.
Having to spend 20 minutes laboriously scraping away at the ice in the freezing cold is not fun for anyone first thing in the morning.
While, it might be annoying, defrosting your car’s windows is an essential, and predictable, part of life.
So, to help you lessen the strain, we have put together some of the best ways of de-icing your windscreen quickly – and safely – as well as what not to do.
Here are our do’s and don’ts of de-icing as well as some clever de-icing hacks:
Do: Invest in a good quality scraper
Improvisation is a wonderful thing in the right circumstances. De-icing a Vauxhall Corsa at 5am when it is -6 is not the time to think outside the box.
Unloved CDs, car keys and anything else with an edge may seem like an ideal solution, but in reality it is going to take a lot longer to get your windscreen clear and you have the additional risk of scratching your windscreen.
Do yourself a favour and treat yourself to a scraper.
Do: Think about how you park
Whenever you can, park your car facing east. Because the sun rises in the east, it will naturally defrost your windshield in the morning so you won’t be stuck scraping ice in the freezing cold. With this trick you should be able to use your windscreen wipers to do the hard work.
Don’t: Forget your mirrors
To prevent ice forming on your mirrors, cover them the night before with plastic bags secured with rubber bands or pegs. When you remove the bags in the morning, the mirrors will be ice-free.
Don’t: Forget your lights
With harsh weather and road conditions, headlights are especially important during the winter. So don’t forget to wipe any snow off them. Some people suggest you can also cover each light with toothpaste and rinse off with warm water. This wil improve the clarity of your lights and is cheaper than the kits you can buy which do the same thing!
Do: Invest in a de-icer
You may try to save a few quid and not bother with the de-icer but it makes the job a lot easier and, after a frustrating quarter of an hour trying to clear your windscreen without it may lead you to regret not forking out for it.
The best de-icers are those with a nozzle which can be sprayed all over the windscreen before you clear the ice with the scraper. A lot of screenwashes also contain de-icer and prevent your wash bottle and spray nozzles from freezing.
Do: Plan ahead
The night before you can do a couple of things to save yourself previous minutes in the morning. Mix three parts vinegar with one part water and spray the mixture onto your windshield to prevent ice from forming.
Don’t: Boil the kettle
Really, this seems like a logical shortcut. Boil the kettle and slat the contents on the windscreen. Boiling hot water should melt ice extremely quickly (and you could pour yourself a quick mug of coffee before attempting this).
In reality this is a daft idea for a number of reasons. Firstly if the water is too hot, and boiling water in a kettle does tend to have this effect, the extreme temperature of the liquid could force your windscreen to crack when it meets the cold temperature of the ice.
Even if your windscreen does manage to survive unscathed there is still the risk the water could spill onto the road or driveway to form a dangerous black ice slick.
Don’t: Sit in the car
Another little shortcut which is a favourite of people up and down the country. Sit in your car with the heating on at full blast and the engine running. You get warm, the ice melts, no risk of shouting in frustration at the scraper or finding you’ve run out of de-icer. Just sit in comfort and watch the world outside your windscreen slowly become visible.
There is no denying it works, but it is an extremely wasteful way of going about it. This method increases wear on the engine and wastes fuel. Which is not only costly, but is going to be annoying if you’re working your way up a jam-packed slow-moving A50 and suddenly realise you don’t have quite as much fuel as you thought.
Break out the scraper and de-icer instead.
Don’t: Use your windscreen wipers
Sounds like a good plan – until your wipers eventually break. Also, again, you’re sitting in your car with your engine running.
Don’t: Just de-ice a portion
Don’t try to save time by just creating a small square directly in front of the driver’s seat – not only does it reduce visibility drastically, but you also risk being reminded, quite publicly, by the police that you are not a tank commander. As one motorist in Cheshire found out last year.