The Do's and Don’ts of defrosting your car on icy mornings

By Sandyford Jan 18, 2022

Frosty mornings have always been synonymous with reaching for the steaming kettle and stepping gingerly on frozen pavements to throw hot at de-ice the car windscreen.  You may be causing more damage than you realise as you pour that hot water on frozen windscreens and attempt to open frozen locks. Here is some timely advice on safely de-icing your car in the mornings.

Windscreens

Don’t pour hot water on a cold windscreen.  When cold glass comes into stark contact with hot water it may cause the glass to shatter. This is  particularly likely, if there is a little chip or fault in the glass. This chip or weakness may not even be visible to the naked eye. It is strange to think the most popular way that  Irish people use to de-ice their windscreens, is the most damaging. 

 Do use a proprietary de-icing spray and a gentle scraping tool to remove the ice.

Do start the engine and get the heaters and de- mister going to warm the car, the wind screen and yourself.

Do make sure the windscreen wipers do not come on automatically and become damaged as they sweep across a frozen windscreen.

Don’t leave the car running in an enclosed space.

Don’t try this method of leaving the car idling alone particularly if there is a likelihood that someone will steal and drive off in it.  The AA warn, "car thieves love an icy morning and every winter, cars are stolen while their owners go inside for warmth waiting for their car to defrost".

Don’t leave the car while its warming.  Be patient. It is illegal to leave a car running unattended. It could mean fines or even three months in prison  

Frozen Locks

Do warm the key for a manual lock with a little warm water (now you can use the kettle!) to melt any ice trapped in the lock.

Electric Vehicles and freezing weather

Do charge your electric car overnight and use the cabin pre-conditioning system. Range of electric cars is reduced during extremely cold weather by as much as 20%.  If pre-conditioning is started while the car is still connected to a power supply, the energy used to heat the interior will come directly from the electricity grid and this will increase the range.

Prevention

Do Park your car close to the house as the heat generated will project and keep the car a bit warmer. Do protect the windscreen with cardboard or a windscreen frost protector.

Stay Safe

Do allow plenty of time for defrosting the car and for extra care while driving on those icy roads.  If the weather forecast, has you reaching for the thermals, then set the alarm clocks for a little early to allow plenty of time for the de-frosting and for the journey itself.  Meanwhile stock up on some good de-icer and leave the kettle where it belongs!

Reference: irishtimes.com/life-and-style/motors



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