We all know that dreaded feeling. It’s a cold, dark morning; there were clear skies last night…you open the front door, walk towards the car and your heart sinks as you see the thick ice all over the windows, the windscreen and even in the door locks! It’s going to be a very cold 10 or 15 minutes getting this car defrosted and safe to drive!
It doesn’t have to be this way, however. Hippo Leasing has some useful tips for either avoiding ice on your car in the first place or dealing with it when it’s already there… and the kids are late for school!
Avoiding frost or ice on your car
As with many things in life, prevention is better than a cure. So what simple steps can drivers take to ensure they don’t need to do battle with the frost every morning?
Check the weather
Not every morning in Winter automatically means an iced up or frosted car. The basic rule of thumb is that if it’s a clear evening without clouds, you can expect frost in the morning, especially in the depths of winter so either stay tuned to the weather or, if it’s a clear, blue sky late afternoon, take the following precautions:
Spray your windscreen with a quality pre-ice spray which can be found at your local motor spares shop or even at the supermarket. If you want to make your own, simply use a clean spray bottle (with none of the previous contents in it and washed) and add a mixture of 3 parts vinegar and one part water. You can also use 2 parts rubbing alcohol and one part water instead. Spray your windscreen, side windows and rear window and look forward to a frost free windscreen in the morning. Remember to use a good quality screen wash as well which means your windscreen washers should still work in the morning.
Cover your windscreen
You may have seen or even used a piece of cardboard or an old towel to cover a windscreen. In theory, this works, but it might bring the tone in the neighbourhood down and they are also susceptible to blowing away. Invest instead in a foil based, professional looking windshield cover for about a Tenner. The cover – normally with foil on one side, also has the advantage of being able to use it on, particularly hot summer days to stop the inside of your car and the dashboard from overheating and normally folds away into a neat bag which you can store in the boot.
All of the above is very well, but what if you missed the weather forecast or just plain forgot?
How not to defrost your car
When it comes to beating the frost on winter mornings, there’ll be days where you simply have to thaw the car in order to get on the road. We know there’s always a rush to get to where you need to be, but there are some common mistakes drivers make that can be to the detriment of their car. Here’s how to avoid defrosting your car:
Running the car engine
Don’t leave the keys in the car and the car unattended whilst you wait for the car's heater to defrost the windows. As tempting as it is to go back inside for a cup of tea or coffee, every year in the UK car thieves make off with cars left unattended whilst they defrost…they don’t even have to start the car!
Don’t throw hot water (or any water) over your car – whilst modern windshields tend to be very strong, they can sometimes crack and the seals around the windscreen will also perish faster if subjected to sudden changes in temperature.
Credit Cards and cheap metal scrapers are a no-no. If you feel compelled to scrape then invest in a quality scraper with a high-density plastic blade to avoid potentially serious damage to the glass or seals.
Don’t turn on the windscreen wipers as this will not only damage the rubbers but it could also cause the windscreen wiper motors to come under unnecessary strain causing them to burn out. Same goes for trying to wind down the window using the window buttons when the side windows are well iced up.
So you have had some advice on what not to do when confronted with an iceberg for a car, what can you do?
Tips to defrost your car more efficiently
We’ve covered how to avoid getting frost on your car, and crucially, we’ve shared with you how to avoid it. But there’s a few tips and tricks to improve the efficiency of defrosting a frozen car.
Most modern cars have a handy defroster button or buttons for the front and read windscreens but what most people don’t know is that they should leave a door open (where safe to do so and it’s not raining ) to let fresh and relatively dry air enter the car.
By putting the sun blinds at 70 degrees instead of flat against the ceiling of the car you also get a blowback effect where the hot air meets the blind and is directed back onto the inside of the windshield which makes defrosting quicker…bonus!
If in a hurry, use your high quality, high-density plastic scraper on the outside to help shift the ice working from the top of the windscreen down.
You can, of course, use a commercial de-icer spray which will help to shift the ice quicker – especially when used in combination with the cars defroster and your high-quality scraper but you could also use the rubbing alcohol and water mix we mentioned previously above instead.
What if I have ice on the inside of the windscreen?
This occurs particularly in older cars when the likes of door seals might not be as good as they used to be. Ice forms on the inside of the car where there is a lot of moisture in the air.
Wet car mats can also be the culprit and when the temperature inside the car drops there is nowhere for the moist air to go so it condenses on the inside of the windscreen and then freezes when the temperature drops.
Remove the moisture
If your car mats are wet, take them inside and dry overnight. Replace any seriously worn door seals and you can also fill an old sock or 3 with fresh cat litter and place on the dashboard and foot wells to absorb water in the air.
Another tip is to keep the inside of the windscreen very clean by using a glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth to remove dirt and grease which make it easier for condensation to form.
There you have it, no need to have that sinking feeling when walking to your car on a freezing winters morning – you will either have avoided ice altogether or be able to deal with it quickly and confidently – happy winter motoring from all at Hippo Leasing!