How to de-ice your car

Winter well and truly kicked in over the weekend, so if you were literally caught cold by the snow and ice on Monday morning, here’s how to de-ice your car.

How to defrost your car

A layer of frost on your car can really mess up the morning commute – just spending a few minutes defrosting your car can see you hit the traffic you usually leave early to avoid. But not fully de-icing and de-misting your windscreen can have more serious consequences, as the reduced visibility greatly increases your risk of crashing.

So follow these top tips to quickly and effectively clear your windscreen on freezing winter mornings…

  • Before you begin de-icing your screens, start up the engine and get the air-conditioning and heated screens and mirrors going to help with the de-frosting and de-misting – allowing the air to circulate to gently warm the glass is the most effective way to clear frosted glass.
  • Clear off any snow with a soft brush – never clear snow or ice with the windscreen wipers, this will damage the blades and possibly the motor – then fully clear the engine grille (to reduce the risk of the engine overheating), followed by the lights and indicators.
  • Clear the screens with a scraper or windscreen de-icer spray. Never use boiling water, it could crack the glass, or just freeze over again and stick your wipers to the windscreen.
  • Try to avoid wiping the inside of the windscreen as it may smear, which will reduce visibility, especially if sun glare is an issue. Instead, let the air-conditioning fully de-mist all the windows, and leave it running so they stay free of mist. If you must wipe the windows, use a lint-free absorbent cloth.

Once your windows are fully cleared, you’re good to go – but never drive off until the glass is completely clear of ice and mist.

And remember to never leave your car unattended, as their is a risk it will be stolen by opportunist thieves, and insurance companies will not pay out for cars that have been taken while left with the engine running, or even with the engine off and the keys left in the ignition. If you have to go back into the house, switch the car off, lock it, and take the keys with you.

How to help take the stress out of frosty mornings

Defrosting your car takes time, a luxury very few of us have in the mornings, so a bit of preparation the night before can make all the difference.

  • Park your car in a sheltered space, if possible, ideally in a garage, as there’s less chance of it freezing over if it’s not in a completely open space.
  • If you can’t do this, try covering it a car cover, to keep the frost from getting at the windows, or at least cover the windows – even just using newspaper kept in place with the windscreen wipers will have an effect.
  • Set your alarm to go off ten minutes early, so you don’t lost any time de-icing your car, and you can set off as normal.
  • Try working from home, so you can miss the morning commute completely.


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