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On The Road

Tips for De-Icing Your Car

See how you can make de-icing your car a little easier for yourself.

by Team Onlia

De-icing isn’t anyone’s idea of fun, but it’s got to be done. Failing to de-ice your car obstructs your visibility and puts other drivers at risk due to flying ice. So to help make it a little easier on you, we’ve rounded up a few tips to give you a hand when it comes to de-icing your vehicle. 

Put on some winter gloves 

Frostbite takes anywhere from two to 30 minutes to hit, depending on the severity of the weather. Keep yourself comfortable (and safe) while de-icing your car by putting on your winter gloves before you begin. 


Brush off the snow covering the ice

Before you start chipping away at the ice, remove the snow resting on top of it, if any. Use a snow brush or your gloved hands to brush it away.


Smack the hood gently with the flat of your hand 

This breaks the ice on your car into large pieces, making them easier to remove and melt. It’s another reason to wear gloves while de-icing your vehicle!


Start the car and turn on the headlights

Let the car heat up so the temperature can gradually melt the ice — but make sure you’ve cleared the exhaust pipe and the radiator grill before doing so. Plus, turn on the headlights, so the heat will make it easier to scrape the ice off the lenses. 


Purchase a commercial de-icing spray


If you’re looking for a quick solution that won’t destroy your windshield, you can grab a commercial de-icing spray from stores like Wal-Mart or Canadian Tire. Keep them in your garage or at your office, and simply spray it over your windshield or doors to defrost your vehicle in a matter of minutes. These mixtures can cost anywhere from $10 to over $20, depending on the brand. 

If you’re expecting sub-zero temperatures and precipitation, you can even apply some spray the night before to make it a little easier for yourself in the morning. 

Whatever you do, don’t pour boiling water on your windshield. The sudden spike in temperature can cause your windshield to crack


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Whip up your own DIY spray

If you’re interested in a DIY preventive spray, mix two parts white vinegar and one part water and spray it over the surface. But don’t get too carried away; ample amounts of vinegar sitting on your car for too long can ruin your paint job. Limit the use of this mixture to the glass windows of your car . 

And remember: The vinegar solution is for preventive use only. If you want a home-made de-icing mixture, mix water, isopropyl alcohol, and a little dish soap. Once you spray it on your car, it’ll thaw out the ice.


Be patient with the scraper

Even with de-icing spray, you’ll likely still need to use an ice-scraper  you just won’t need to use it as much. That said, it’s important not to be too aggressive with this tool. If you scrape too hard, you run the risk of damaging your windshield. 


Protect your car overnight 

If you know it’s going to be a cold night, you can do more than spray your car. You can also cover your windshield with windshield wiper covers to prevent freezing overnight. Another option is to park your car facing east, so the rising sun does some of your defrosting work for you. 


Practice defensive driving

This isn’t a de-icing tip exactly, but it’s a tip for safe driving considering that other people may not de-ice their cars as well as they should. Some drivers choose to only clear a small space in their windshield and neglect other icy spots on their car, like the back window. 

Give other drivers space in case ice flies off their vehicle. In addition, keep an eye on your speed while driving on icy roads, so that you have a decent stopping distance, and can maintain control over your vehicle.

Clearing your car of snow and ice can be a drag, especially when it’s freezing out. We hope these tips help ease the burden of grabbing that scraper in the early hours of the morning! 

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