The best way to de­frost your wind­screen

Wairarapa News - - MOTORING -

The first in an oc­ca­sional se­ries of au­to­mo­tive ques­tions that we’re some­times afraid to ask. By Damien O’Car­roll.

As we are all now ex­pe­ri­enc­ing, win­ter is loom­ing large and that means frosted-up wind­screens for the ma­jor­ity of the coun­try.

Driv­ing with even a par­tially iced wind­screen is ex­tremely dan­ger­ous and more than a lit­tle silly... but what’s the best way to deal with that early morn­ing has­sle of a frosted over wind­screen? Here are a few tips.

It goes with­out say­ing that start­ing the car, wind­ing the heat right up and blast­ing the in­side of the wind­screen will even­tu­ally do the trick. But that takes time and, more im­por­tantly, wastes fuel.

A free and far more eco-friendly op­tion is wa­ter. Pour­ing luke­warm or even room tem­per­a­ture wa­ter over the wind­screen will quickly melt off a light frost, while a heav­ier one may re­quire a bit of scrap­ing with a plastic scraper (never use a metal one, as it can scratch the glass).

Af­ter you have done this, be sure to turn your wind­screen wipers on to clear the ex­cess wa­ter so that it doesn’t sim­ply re­freeze.

If luke­warm wa­ter works well, then hot wa­ter should work even bet­ter, right? Well, yes and no - while it will melt the ice quickly, the dras­tic tem­per­a­ture change could cause your wind­screen to crack, putting an even big­ger dent in your morn­ing. So never, un­der any cir­cum­stances, use hot wa­ter.

If you own a Skoda, then it may even have a plastic ice scraper tucked in the petrol flap. If not, they are cheap to buy and a worth­while in­vest­ment if you live in a frost-prone area.

If you don’t have one and are caught in a sit­u­a­tion where you do need to scrape with some­thing, a credit or debit card (any form of plastic card, re­ally) will do in a pinch; but as we men­tioned ear­lier, never use a metal scraper or kitchen uten­sil, such as a spat­ula or BBQ brush.

A hard bris­tled plastic brush will also do in a pinch.

While com­mer­cial de-icer prod­ucts are avail­able, a home­made blend can do just as good a job. A mix­ture of 2/3 iso­propyl al­co­hol and 1/3 wa­ter (some say with a few drops of dish­wash­ing de­ter­gent) sprayed on a frozen wind­screen will do the trick, fol­lowed, again, by some easy scrap­ing and wiper-use.

One old rem­edy that sur­faces ev­ery year is the the­ory that a sim­i­lar mix of wa­ter and vine­gar will de­frost a wind­screen. This re­ally doesn’t work.

While a wa­ter/vine­gar mix will stop frost form­ing if sprayed on the night be­fore, it won’t re­move the freeze quickly af­ter the fact.

Which leads us to the sim­plest and eas­i­est way to en­sure you have a clear wind­screen in the morn­ing - pre­ven­tion.

The afore­men­tioned wa­ter/ vine­gar trick will work (ig­nore the cries that vine­gar can pit your wind­screen as it takes some­thing se­ri­ously more cor­ro­sive than vine­gar to dam­age glass), but an eas­ier op­tion is to sim­ply put an old towel or large piece of card­board over your wind­screen the night be­fore.

Easy, re­ally. But just re­mem­ber what not to do - don’t use hot wa­ter, don’t use metal scrap­ers and don’t just drive with an icedup wind­screen hop­ing it will even­tu­ally melt.

There are plenty of quick fixes for a frozen wind­screen. But why not pre­vent it in the first place?

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