Learn the right way to de-ice your car

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A parked car that is almost completely encased in ice.

De-icing your car usually won't be this hard. (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/NAME/I Came to Sarasota for the Waters)

Cold winter temperatures mixed with precipitation are an icy recipe for your vehicle. Within just a few hours, your car can go from clean to ice-covered. While cleaning an icy car may see like a simple task involving heat or scraping, there are things you don’t want to do when you’re de-icing your car. Learn the right way, right here.

Brush away the snow if you don’t want ice

Here’s a simple way to get started when de-icing your car: brush off the snow. Both snow and ice are a a solid form of water, and moisture from snow will freeze and create ice that can coat your windshields, door handles and locks. Brush away the snow regularly, even if you don’t plan to go driving. Use a snow brush or broom. Don’t use the snow shovel you keep around to clean the driveway, unless you don’t mind chipping window glass or scratching the paint job. Also, never use boiling water on frozen locks and handles, as the stress will likely cause breakage.

Give a hand when breaking up that ice party

If you have built up some callus studying karate – or even if you have pent-up aggression you want to take out on your car – give that ice a whack with the flat of your hand. If it’s a thin layer, you may be able to break it up and brush it off. Do not use anything harder than your hand, however – particularly on window ice. A shattered window is expensive and horrid to deal with during winter months, and cold glass tends to be more brittle.

Warming up to Jack Frost

Start that car, turn on the headlights and run the heater as well as both front and rear defrosters to loosen things up for cleaning. Just make sure the exhaust pipe and radiator grill are clear before you do. When you do start the engine, don’t leave it unattended for long. If your radiator’s coolant/water mix is off and temperatures are particularly frigid, the frozen mix won’t help. The engine will overheat and die if you aren’t paying attention.

Here’s another idea: wait until your wipers blades are clean before turning on the windshield wipers. If the blades are stuck in ice, the wiper system motor can become damaged if you turn the system on and the blades can break apart. Winter-grade wiper fluid can help melt window ice, as well.


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Or you could just cover your car

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