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How to De-ice Your Windshield Quickly

scraping windshield ice

You and your family are finally ready to hit the road, but your car looks like Ice Station Zebra. As tempting as it is to carve a small divot and use the peep-hole method of driving, you know it's not a good idea. But, the clock is ticking and you need to get on the road. You could be sensible and warm the car up and wait for the defrosters to do their job, but you have places to go and people to see. There's no dearth of advice on ways to de-ice your windshield in a hurry, but some of them are just plain bad ideas.

You'll be sorrys

It's amazing what some of us will do to save a few minutes, but here are a few don'ts:

  • Home made de-icers. There are plenty of people touting the efficacy of their homemade de-icing concoctions. And while an alcohol-based spray might help in the short run, it'll destroy your paint, eventually. Same for vinegar and salt. They're corrosive, as anyone who's ever eaten too many salt and vinegar potato chips can attest.
  • Don't use a blow torch. You'd think a sentence like that wouldn't be necessary, but people do nutty things. Don't try to melt the ice off your windshield with a torch of any kind, even one of those adorable little crème brûlée torches.
  • Don't use any sort of metal scraper including your keys. They might have a better bite, but save the glass etching for that extension class.
  • Many people swear by hot water. And, if the temperature is right, it just might work. Or it might crack your windshield into a thousand little pieces. Drastic changes of temperature cause glass to break. We've all taken a glass out of the dishwasher, it's still hot to the touch and put some water in it, only to have it break apart in our hands. Putting hot water on a cold windshield is the same effect in reverse.
  • Don't try to “break it up” by tapping it with ball-pein hammer. No matter how careful you are, you're just asking for it.

The right stuff

The best way to speed de-icing is with a professional de-icing solution like Rain-X De-Icer. Start your car and put on the defroster. Remove all the extra snow, if there is any, and spray the remaining ice with the solution. Scrape a little and then run your wiper to get rid of the rest.

An ounce of prevention

It's a cliche, but it's true. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to de-ice your windshield quickly is to keep the ice from forming in the first place. Or at least, minimize it.

Use a cover. If you don't want to buy one, a carefully placed trash bag can do the trick. It's not the most attractive solution, but it will get the job done. Be sure to secure it, so it doesn't just blow away.

There are also "night before" products like Prestone's Ice and Frost Shield that can help keep ice from forming in the first place.

Of course, the best prevention is moving to the Bahamas, but that's not a one-size fits all solution. Ice is simply part of life in our colder climates. But, with a little extra work, you can get on the road quickly and start sliding to work