No one ever wants to leave the house in a rush because you are late for work or even for meeting a friend for coffee, only to find your car’s windshield covered in ice. The wrong methods of de-icing your windshield can lead to a costly windshield repair which can make you miss your planned activities altogether. Since it is an unplanned expense, you may find cash flow affected as well.
There are plenty of myths out there about how you can de-ice your windshield quickly. Unfortunately, most of these myths either don’t work or can cause costly damage to the glass.
Here are our top 5 tips to preventing a windshield repair caused by improper de-icing methods.
Tip #1: Don’t Use Hot Water
While it makes sense that pouring hot water over ice will melt the ice, it can actually cause much more damage than you’d think. The cold glass of your windshield will be more brittle due to the extremely cold temperatures. Once you pour hot water onto the glass, the sudden change in temperature can cause the windshield to crack or even shatter.
This hot water will also freeze, and hot water freezes faster than cold water. The hot water as well as melted ice can drip down into areas of your vehicle and re-freeze, causing even more damage to your vehicle. When it re-freezes onto the windshield wipers, you may end up with a bigger problem since it will take longer to de-ice them, preventing you from using your vehicle.
You don’t want to use hot water, as we’ve mentioned. But you also shouldn’t use water that is warm, or even straight from the tap, as this can also cause the rapid temperature change that will leave you needing a windshield repair.
Tip #2: Don’t Use Vinegar and Water
This windshield de-icing myth seems to become popular every year around the time of the first freeze of the winter and drivers aren’t prepared with the proper equipment to clear the glass. Some people say it’s a 2 to 1 ratio of vinegar and water and some say it is 3 to 1. Either way, this is one method of de-icing your car’s windshield you want to stay away from.
The first reason to skip on the vinegar is that it doesn’t work very well at all when the windshield is already iced. It works fairly well to prevent the ice from forming in the first place if it is applied the day before and icy temperatures are forecasted for the night.
The second reason vinegar should be avoided, even to prevent the windshield from icing up, is that vinegar is an acid that can eat away at the glass, causing pits. This distorts your view of the road and can weaken the glass, making it more susceptible to cracks.
You may be thinking that most regular glass cleaners also have vinegar in them, also called acetic acid. While this is true, the percentage of vinegar in traditional glass cleaners is usually never more than 5%, which isn’t enough to cause the damage that more concentrated vinegar solutions can.
Tip #3: Don’t Use a Hammer
When needing to de-ice a windshield quickly, many drivers have attempted to chip away at the ice with a hammer. This can be an effective way of removing the ice, but leaves the glass vulnerable to chipping from the impact. It may even cause a large crack due to the cold glass being brittle. It doesn’t take much of an impact to cause enough damage to require a windshield repair.
In fact, no tool should be used to chip the stubborn ice away. This includes:
- Metal Ice Scrapers
- Utility Knives
- Snow Shovels
- And more…
Not only can these damaging tools cause chips and cracks, but they can leave deep scratches or grooves in the glass that will need to be repaired. A windshield repair doesn’t have to be added to your agenda if you refrain from chipping at the ice, possibly chipping your windshield as well.
Tip #4: Don’t Use a Propane Torch
When pressed for time and you are stuck with a frozen windshield, you may be tempted to grab a propane torch to get rid of the ice quickly. Similar to the hot water myth above, the quick change in temperature, from very cold to very hot, the windshield can crack or shatter.
However, using a tool such as a propane torch is dangerous for the driver using it. Any such equipment will be. And the heat of the torch may also melt the glass as well as the inner layer, usually plastic. This plastic is necessary for the windshield to stay together in the event of a crack or shatter and it is also known as safety glass.
Propane torches aren’t the only heat-producing tools you want to stay away from when de-icing your windshield. You also want to avoid:
- Hair Dryers
- Portable Heaters
- Cigarette Lighter
- And more…
Tip #5: Take Your Time
You may have to get up a little earlier in the mornings to spend some time using proper methods of de-icing your car’s windshield, but it is worth it. By using tried and true methods, you can prevent the need for a windshield repair. This saves you time, cost, and inconvenience
If you need to remove ice from your windshield, you want to use the car’s heater and defrost settings. Once the vehicle is warmed up, the ice will start to loosen, allowing you to use a plastic ice scraper to remove it. If you’ve removed the ice and snow away from the wiper fluid nozzles, you can also use this as a tool to break up the ice, especially if you are using fluid made for cold temps, or even specifically for de-icing.
Preventing the Need for Windshield Repair
No one wants to go through a needless windshield repair when it could have been avoided by de-icing your windshield the proper way. However, if you’ve mistakenly cracked your windshield by trying myths that don’t work, call for a repair as soon as possible so you can have a structurally sound windshield that won’t impede your vision while driving.