How to De-ice Your Car – A Quick Guide

Well, this is always a topic that gets drivers talking! How should you defrost your windscreen if you keep your car on the drive or the road, and not in a garage?

First of all, it may be worth covering the windscreen the night before a frost is due, to save yourself the bother of de-icing. However, there aren’t many of us who are that organised! And also, you’ll still have to defrost the windows and mirrors, so how much work does it actually save?

There are plenty of drivers who swear by lukewarm, hot or boiling water poured onto the windscreen and windows (for instance, this poll back in 2006 suggests that over 20% use that method for preference). Green Flag, the motoring rescue organisation, reckon that boiling water is unsafe, as it might crack your windscreen, although most of the drivers responding to the poll said they’d never had any problems. However, one issue with this method is that it can leave a dangerous slick of ice on your drive. Even if you’ve invested in a supply of de-icing salt or grit salt, that may not be enough to save you from your very own glacier if it’s really cold, and you use too much water. And you’ll have to stop to spread salt around before leaving, thus undoing all the good work on de-icing the car!

Green Flag also say that it’s not much use sitting in the car with the heater running, waiting for the car to warm up. This will work eventually, but it takes a long time, and so wastes fuel and increases wear on the engine. 

In fact, according to Green Flag, the best way of de-icing your windscreen is a can of de-icer and an old-fashioned ice-scraper. Spray the de-icer all over your windscreen and then scrape it off with the ice scraper. Don’t be tempted to use anything other than an ice scraper, as you could scratch your windscreen, and above all, don’t use your windscreen wipers to clear away the ice, as you’ll only break them. For those really cold days when it looks like your screen will re-freeze as you’re first driving, make sure your windscreen wash bottle is topped up with high concentrate screenwash. This will help unfreeze the windscreen, and also make sure your bottle and tubes don’t freeze up.

And finally, do make sure that you defrost the whole windscreen, and not just the bit immediately in front of the driver’s seat. You’ll also need to do the rear windscreen, and all the windows, to make sure your view is unrestricted. With ice about, you really don’t want to be doing an emergency stop because someone ‘just stepped out in front of you’!



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