How to De-Ice Your Car Safely: Do’s and Don’ts
With temperatures dropping drastically in the last few weeks and many cities in the UK waking up to several inches of snow, it’s even more important to be cautious on the road and take time in the morning to de-ice your car. That is why we have put together a list of things you should do and some which you should avoid, a list that we hope will be useful to defrost your car safely and quickly.
1. Switch Your Heating On
The first thing we recommend is to switch your engine on and put your heating on full, directing it towards your windscreen. Also, if your car is equipped with it, we suggest switching on the rear windscreen heater, which will allow the ice to melt more quickly.
2. Check Your Wipers
Make sure to thoroughly inspect your wipers to ensure they aren’t frozen. If they are, their motor could be damaged and their rubber could start ripping off if you use them. If this is the case, don’t put them on just yet, wait until they are thoroughly defrosted.
3. Sweep Off the Snow
If there is any visible or thick snow on your car, sweep it off with a soft brush before starting the de-icing process. While doing that, make sure your lights are clean and in working order.
4. Use an Ice Scraper
Grab your ice scraper (it’s always handy to keep one in your glove compartment, you never know), and start scraping your windscreen and windows. Make sure to use an actual ice scraper and not a sharp object, as this could permanently damage your windows and/or windscreen, potentially resulting in expensive repairs.
5. Make Sure Everything is Clear Before Setting Off
Wait until all the ice has been cleared and/or melted and you have clear visibility through all windows and mirrors before setting off. It’s important not to rush the defrosting process, which will roughly take 10 to 15 minutes as if you do, this could lead to unsafe driving. If you are usually in a rush in the morning, make sure to set your alarm a little earlier and take your time to de-ice your vehicle.
Now let’s come to what you shouldn’t do to de-ice your car, as this could lead to permanent damage to your vehicle or dangerous driving.
1. Don’t Throw Hot Water on Your Car
Throwing hot water on your car will not help you clear your windscreen very quickly or melt all the ice. In fact, with the water temperature being hotter than your frozen screen, this could lead to cracks on your windscreen or even smash it entirely as the glass expands very quickly when it comes in contact with warm or hot water (called “thermal shock”), causing it to burst. In addition, if boiling water reaches your vehicle’s paint, this could lead to even further damage, potentially stripping the paint off your car.
2. Don’t Rub Your Car with a Potato
If you have read online that rubbing half a potato on the inside of your windows will help them not to steam up, please don’t fall for this online hack, we wouldn’t recommend you to do this, as this could smear your windows, obstruct your view and prevent you from driving safely. The only thing you should use inside your vehicle to wipe condensation off is a clean cloth.
3. Don’t Use a DIY Ice Scraper
We would always recommend keeping an ice scraper in your car, it’s a small tool that fits easily in your glove box. Using any other sharp object or makeshift ice scraper, as we pointed out above, could lead to permanent scratches on your windows or windscreen which could mean out-of-pocket repairs may be needed to your car.
4. Don’t Drive If You Can’t See
As much as we would want to, ice doesn’t melt right away, so account for the additional time in the morning, please don’t drive if you can’t see properly as it’s not only unsafe and could lead to accidents, but in fact, it could also lead to a £100 fine and three points added to your licence if you are driving with a limited view of the road.
5. Don’t Switch the Engine On and Wander Off
It will be tempting to switch the engine on and retreat back into the warmth of your home, however, having your vehicle running and leaving it unattended is never a good idea, as this could lead to car theft. You never know; opportunist thieves may be on the prowl and your unattended car could be gone within seconds.
We hope our article has helped you understand what to do and what not to do when de-icing your car. However, should you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to respond to any query you may have.
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