The Best Ways to De-Ice Your Car

One of the worst aspects about owning a car is the need to scrape ice off of the windows in the winter — especially during harsh New England winters. Being deterred by ice removal while running late doesn’t help the experience, either. Luckily, there are multiple ways to de-ice your car, getting you on the road quickly and safely. 

Of course, keeping your car in a garage or similar shelter is the best way to “de-ice” your car since you deter the ice’s formation. However, if this option is not available, you can remove ice through mechanical, chemical and preventative methods. 

Mechanical

The mechanical methods are probably the most familiar. However, there are some “hacks” which might help speed the process.

  • Ice scraper. Of course, the ice scraper is probably the most familiar method. But without assistance beyond the scraper itself, this can seem difficult or impossible. 

  • Classic defrost settings method. One way to help the scraper method is by adjusting the heat settings within the car. The most common way to do this is by turning on the car, setting the heat to defrost, choosing internal circulation, and turning the heat and fan on the highest settings.

  • Air conditioning method. Depending on your car’s make and the weather, using your air conditioner can actually help speed the defrost process since it dehumidifies the air. Simply turn on the heat and air conditioner, circulate air from the outside, and crack your windows. 

In addition to mechanical methods, chemical methods can further speed the process. 

Chemical

Using chemicals can help break up ice faster so you can get on the road more easily. 

  • Vinegar-based solution. Add three parts vinegar with one part water and put in a spray bottle. Then, spray the solution on the ice to help it melt. Keep the solution inside your house so it doesn’t freeze. 

  • Alcohol-based solution. Alternatively, try two parts rubbing alcohol with one part water for a similar result to vinegar. Using a couple drops of soap can also help with application and distribution. 

  • Commercial solution. There are multiple commercially available de-icing solutions. However, use caution as the main ingredient in these products, ethylene glycol, can be poisonous to pets. 

While these methods can help speed the process of already-formed ice, there are ways to reduce or prevent ice formation in the first place. 

Prevention

While parking in a garage or shelter is the best means of prevention, there are a couple other ways to reduce or prevent ice formation. 

  • Chemical treatments. Commercially available treatments, such as the one for de-icing, are available as a pre-treatment. However, they also contain ethylene glycol. A more natural method is using the above vinegar-based solution. 

  • Kitty litter. If you put some kitty litter in a sock and place that sock on the dashboard, it can help remove moisture from the air and reduce ice formation on your windshield. 

  • Airflow. Before exiting your car, allow cold air to enter your car before you lock it up and leave it overnight. This way, there is less difference in the inside-outside temperatures, and the cold air dries out the interior atmosphere. 

If you still have questions about de-icing — or any winter care — you can always contact professionals for help. 

What You Can Do

Ice removal is one of many concerns for cars in the winter. If you have questions about winter care — or need repairs from winter damage — call Living the Dream. We are dedicated to your car’s health during any season. Simply schedule an appointment online or call (339) 237-5151. 



 

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