Most drivers who have lived in cold weather climates are probably familiar with the scenario of waking up to find ice covering your car. Those drivers are also probably familiar with how annoying it can be to remove all the ice from your windshield. Although it may be tedious work, completely removing all the ice from your windshield is an important step before you begin your daily commute. Leaving ice on your windshield can be very dangerous. Not only will it block your vision, but it can break off in sheets and hit passing cars. Using an ice scraper is probably the quickest and most efficient way to remove ice from a windshield. However, there are other ways you can remove the ice if you should find yourself without an ice scraper. Here are a few items that you will want in your car this winter to help remove ice.
A credit card is a surprisingly helpful tool to remove ice in a pinch. It works much like an ice scraper to pop the sheet of ice off the windshield. It is also a great option because almost everybody has a credit card in their wallet, purse or glove box. However, there are also some pretty obvious downsides to using a credit card to remove ice. The biggest one is that a credit card is not very big. This will lead to LOTS of extra work. It is also limited to scrape where you can reach with your arms. This may leave large areas left icy towards the center of the windshield. The last problem is that all the scraping could damage the magnetic strip on the credit card, rendering it useless. To avoid damaging your credit card you could always use a library card or an empty gift card instead.
Another handy tool to use in lieu of an ice scraper is a spatula from the kitchen. If you are near home when your car ices over than you may want to bring along this favorite kitchen tool. As long as it is a sturdy wooden or plastic spatula, or pancake flipper, than it will clean the ice off your car quite nicely. It will work much like a credit card, but with a one main advantage. That advantage is that, like an ice scraper, a spatula comes with a handle. This means that you can reach the spatula further than you can reach a credit card. It also allows you to put more force into each scrape. This will hopefully make the de-icing go by quickly so you can get to work on time.
Old CD Cases
This next one is a common de-ice trick that may be quickly going out of style. This trick is to use an old CD case to scrape at the ice. These small plastic cases are surprisingly strong for their size. It can chip away at thick sheets of ice and frost without damaging your windshield. There was a point in time that almost everyone had a clear plastic CD case laying about in their car. However due to music streaming services, having a physical CD in your car is coming less and less common. So you may want to grab an old CD case from inside your house to use as an ice scraper. Store it in your glove compartment for emergency de-icing purposes. The good news is that if the CD case breaks, you probably won’t miss it!
DIY De-Icer Spray
This DIY method is an easy way to remove ice without an ice scraper. Spraying a de-icer on your car will chemically react with the ice to melt it faster and prevent it from refreezing. You can purchase expensive de-icer spray at any grocery store or hardware store, or you can make your own. DIY ice spray can work very well at just a fraction of the cost. Simply use rock salt to create a salt water solution to spray on top of the ice. This spray will lower the freezing point and make the ice melt faster. However, use the salt water spray sparingly because too much salt can damage the windshield. You could also combine water and rubbing alcohol in a 2:1 mixture and add a drop of dish washing soap. This mixture works the same as the salt water, but can be use liberally.
Warm Up the Car
Although this method of removing ice isn’t necessarily recommended, it is still very effective. Many people turn on their cars and heat up the windshield from the inside. Although the benefit of this method is you have a nice and toasty car to sit in, this method can be expensive in the long run. It can take about 10-15 minutes for your car to warm up enough to blast the heat and defrost. Then it will take upwards of another 15 minutes to melt the ice, depending on how thick it is. That means that your car is burning expensive fuel for over a half an hour each morning before your commute. Not only is idling your car burning fuel, but it is emitting gas into the air. If your tailpipe is blocked by ice or snow, that buildup of carbon monoxide gas can be deadly.
This last method of ice removal is fairly controversial. Some drivers will pour warm (not hot!) water over their windshield while the windshield wipers are running. They claim that this will turn the ice to slush and it can be gently brushed off. However, most safety experts will insist that this method of snow removal isn’t safe. They claim that water of any temperature threatens to crack or shatter the windshield due to thermal shock. While this method of removing ice without and ice scraper seems quick and easy, the chance of cracking your windshield is not worth the risk.
If you are driving in cold weather conditions, chances are you will have an ice scraper stowed away in the trunk or glove compartment of your vehicle. However, you will be glad you have a few more tricks up your sleeve for those emergency snow days. It doesn’t matter which method of ice removal you choose, what is most important is that you remove all the ice from your windshield. This will help keep your car in good repair as well as make sure your vision isn’t hindered. Both of which will help you drive safely in the snow this winter.
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