How to de-ice your windscreen

  • Barrowford MOT Centre

One of the more bothersome challenges of winter is removing ice from your car’s windscreen on frosty mornings. Here are some tips on how to prevent and remove windscreen ice.

Preventative Measures

The old proverb that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure definitely holds true when it comes to ice on vehicle windscreen’s. You never have to remove something that is not there in the first place, which means the single most effective way to prevent ice on a windscreen is to park your car in a garage. Even a covered carport can help reduce ice formation in some situations.

If sheltered parking is not an option, covering your windscreen will work nearly as well. Use a tarp, large towel or old sheet folded as necessary. Hold the cover in place using the wiper blades, weights, magnets or some other method so it will not blow off. Auto parts stores sell covers that typically have magnets built in to help hold them in place. Note that a cover may scratch paint if the finish is dirty and/or the cover moves about in the wind. Also, covers are best used when little or no snowfall is expected; heavy snow deposits can make removing a cover difficult.

Before the weather turns cold, fill your car’s windscreen washer reservoir with winter fluid or a “de-icer” solution that will not freeze and can aid in ice removal. Be sure to operate the washers long enough to flush any summer solution from the lines. When snow or freezing weather is expected, fold the wiper arms up off the glass or place small pieces of wood (or other objects) under the wiper arms to hold the rubber blades off the windshield. This will prevent them from freezing to the glass and ease snow and ice removal. The use of one-piece beam-type wiper blades or rubber encased winter wipers will minimise snow and ice buildup on the blades and help speed the removal of both.

Ice Removal

When you need to remove ice from a windscreen, follow these steps: Start the engine, set the heater to defrost, adjust the airflow to recirculate, and move the temperature control to full heat. If your car has an automatic climate control system, simply set it to defrost. If your car is one of the few with an optional electrically-heated windscreen, turn it on to rapidly clear ice from the glass.
As the ice begins to melt, use a plastic scraper, the windscreen wipers, a rubber squeegee or a soft bristle brush to remove it from the glass. Never use metal scrapers, which can scratch the glass and damage wiper blades. Another no-no is hot water, which can crack glass by causing thermal shock and will freeze as it cools. For the same reason, never try to melt ice with any type of torch. Finally, tapping on the ice with a ball-peen hammer or other tool in an attempt to break it up is just asking for a windscreen replacement.

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