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What is the best way of defrosting a frozen windscreen

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November 26, 2019
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Winter 2019 is upon us with overnight temperatures plummeting way below zero, which brings the annual early morning problem of defrosting a frozen windscreen.

The team at Adrian Flux have come up with their top tips for defrosting a frozen windscreen — there are a number of “dos” but just as many “don’ts”.

defrosting a frozen windscreen

The dos when defrosting a frozen windscreen

  • Start the engine and turn the heating on pointing blowers onto the windscreen. Once the engine warms up the warm air will start melting the ice from the inside. 
  • Make sure you have a good quality scraper to speed the process and once it is clear use a cloth to dry the window so damp residue doesn’t refreeze once you are on the move.
  • Shop bought de-icer will clear the windscreen quickly and efficiently but again, dry the windscreen after use to prevent a refreeze. 
  • A salt water solution or a solution of water and alcohol on a sponge will also clear the windscreen of ice. 

defrosting a frozen windscreen

The don’ts when defrosting your windscreen

  • Don’t use boiling water for defrosting a frozen windscreen. The sudden change in temperature can damage the windscreen, especially if it is chipped or cracked. If you must use water, make sure it is lukewarm. 
  • It may be tempting to return into the warmth of your home while you leave the engine running for the car to warm up but do this at your peril. This provides an open invitation to opportunist car thieves. If your car is stolen or in this manner your insurance may be invalidated.
  • Don’t use your windscreen wipers until you are sure the rubber wiper blades are not frozen to the screen. If you do it could damage the blades or even burn out the wiper engine.
  • Don’t drive off until your windscreen is fully cleared – if you do it  will endanger your safety and you may be breaking the law.  

But wouldn’t it be better not to have a frozen windscreen in the first place? There are a number of precautions you can take to prevent your windscreen freezing.

iced car

How to stop your windscreen icing over in the first place

  • Rub the cut side of half a raw onion on your windows when frost is forecast.
  • Spray the windscreen with vinegar or alcohol mixed with water — try a 1:2 ratio of water to alcohol.
  • Cover your screen with a rubber bath mat using the windscreen wipers to keep it in place. Don’t use newspaper as it will probably freeze to the screen making the clearance job even harder. 
  • Rub wiper blades with alcohol to prevent them icing to the glass.
  • Invest in some night-before de-icer and you won’t have to worry about defrosting a frozen windscreen.
  • While you’re at it, cover your side mirrors with carrier bags and secure them with rubber bands or tape to prevent them from freezing.
  • If you have a garage, try to use it. If you park on a driveway point your windscreen closest to the house and it will be sheltered from the worst of the weather. Most cars have very efficient rear window heaters.
  • If you park on the road try to position the front of the car over a drain as warmer air will rise from it helping to keep your screen clear. 

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