It may seem obvious, but in the UK it’s the law that you must be able to see out of your windows and your licence plate must be readable. Our blissful summer may have pushed all thoughts of winter from your mind but as the cold weather begins to set in, you may want to read up on how to remove ice from your car before you find yourself in a tricky situation. You can also take steps to prevent ice from building up on your windows and windscreen that can save you precious time. So, to make sure you remain safe in the winter, read our guide below on how to de-ice your car.
How To Prevent Frost and Ice on Windshield
If you know that a big freeze is on the horizon like the dreaded “beast from the east” that we had a few years ago, you can take steps to protect your car from snow and ice. If you don’t have access to shelter for your car such as a garage, then you can use some simple tricks to stop your windscreen and car windows from freezing up.
- Cover your car
Why not invest in a tarp to cover your car when it is stationary? Just ensure that you secure it so it doesn’t blow off (simple bungee cords should do the trick!). This method is good at preventing most ice and snow build-up, but you may still find some ice on your windows and windshield.
- Rubbing alcohol or windshield fluid
To prevent your windshield wipers from freezing you can put some rubbing alcohol or windshield fluid into the windshield washer reservoir.
- Ice prevention spray
You can either buy a professional ice spray or create your own using three cups of vinegar and one cup of water. Once you have created your ice spray, simply apply a light coat onto your car windows and windshield before you go to bed to prevent the dreaded morning de-icing ritual.
Make sure that you don’t apply too much vinegar as this can damage your windscreen and can accelerate rust.
- Cover your windshield with a towel soaked in saltwater
If only a light snowfall is expected then you can use a simple trick to prevent your windshield from icing up. Simply soak a towel in a solution of salt and water and then place across your windshield overnight. However, don’t do this if we’re expecting a heavy snowfall as this can make the towel heavy and it can then be difficult to remove.
How To Remove Ice From Car Windows & Windshields
First things first, if you find yourself with a car covered in ice, never apply hot water onto your windshield as the sudden temperature change can cause your windshield to crack. Instead, you can use one of our methods below:
- Warm up your car
If you have time and don’t have a de-icer to hand, you can let your car warm up first and this will melt the ice. Some cars have a defrost setting which you can use. Before you turn your car on, check to ensure that there is no ice blocking the tailpipe and remove any blockages to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Make sure you do not begin driving until all the ice has melted and you can fully see through your windshield and windows.
- Apply a solution
You can apply either a rubbing alcohol solution or a saltwater solution to your windscreen to melt the ice. Saltwater can prevent the ice from re-freezing whilst you are out and about. However, the saltwater can damage your car whereas a 2:1 rubbing alcohol solution will not damage the car and it has the same effect on ice, melting it and lowering the freezing point of water to prevent it from re-freezing.
- Apply a De-icer
If you would rather use a specialised spray, you can pick one up in your local shop and apply as per the instructions on the product.
- Use a squeegee
As the ice starts to melt there may be some residue that needs removing from your windows and windshield so that you have full visibility. You can use a squeegee to wipe away this residue easily and quickly.
- Ice scrapers
For heavier ice and if you are in a rush, ice scrapers are a great way to speed up the process as you can use it to chip away the ice and break up larger sections.
- WD-40 Multi-Use
We don’t recommend using WD-40 on your windows or windshields but you can apply WD-40 Multi-Use to your number plate to not only provide a protective layer to stop it from rusting but to also prevent ice from sticking to it. The unique WD-40 formula repels water and can be used as a rust prevention spray. So, to ensure that you are abiding by the UK law, ensure that your number plate is always readable by applying WD-40 to protect it from rust and ice.
Pro Tip: Car door frames, weatherstripping, and locks can freeze in winter making it impossible for you to open your car. If you find you can’t get into your car, you can read our blog on how to stop locks freezing.
Now that you know how to both prevent your car from freezing and how to defrost it if it does freeze up, you should be well equipped for the winter ahead! Always remember to make sure you remove any snow on the top of your car before beginning your journey as this can fall onto your windscreen as you are driving and block your view.