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Motoring experts warn of dangerous de-icing hacks that could damage your windscreen 

As we move into December, cold frosty weather is just on the horizon, which means many drivers across the nation will wake up to a frozen windscreen.

And it seems that people are trying to find the most efficient method for de-icing their car, as Windscreen Wipers have spotted searches for ‘clearing windscreen’ have risen by 39% this month.


With countless hacks and misinformation online about how to defrost your motor, the experts at Windscreen Wipers have shared the dos and don’ts when de-icing your windscreen this winter.

Don’t: Fall for online hacks

A recent de-icing hack on the internet includes rubbing a potato on the windscreen to prevent freezing overnight. However, smearing anything on windscreens is a faux pas for drivers as this can leave debris on the screen and limit visibility.

Another hack instructs drivers to rub hot water in a sandwich bag on the windscreen to quickly remove frost. Hot water, even in a bag, can cause damage and small cracks in the glass which may not be noticeable until it’s too late.

Don’t: ‘Porthole’

A tempting but dangerous habit is portholing. This is when drivers only clear a patch of the windscreen, a ‘porthole’, to look through when they are driving.

This is dangerous and can land you with a hefty fine of £60 rising to £2,500 if your driving is deemed to be dangerous. Make sure that you always clear your entire windscreen before setting off.

Don’t: Use water to de-ice your screen

Using water of any temperature to de-ice windscreens is not advised. Hot water will cause the glass to expand, which can result in it cracking or even shattering, and cold water can freeze on top of existing ice and frost. Both methods can damage your windscreen, sometimes beyond repair.

This is why using windscreen washer fluid that is designed to be used in freezing temperatures is important. The solution lowers the freezing point of the fluid so you can safely clear your windscreen while driving and not damage your wipers or the windscreen.

Do: Check your wipers are turned off

In cold temperatures, car wipers can freeze to the glass overnight, so it is important to allow them time to defrost. If the wipers are turned on before they have defrosted, the frozen rubber will tear from the wiper blade and therefore break the wipers.

You should also regularly check that your wipers are working properly. If you hear squeaking, or the wipers are skipping or not removing debris properly you must change your wipers to ensure you maintain good visibility in all conditions and avoid fines.

Do: Use the air-con

A common query many drivers have is how to de-mist their car windows. There are a few easy steps to remember so you can start the process quickly and efficiently each time.

First, turn on the car’s heating on a low setting and gradually build up to a higher temperature, this will prevent the windows from fogging up even more. Then turn on the air-con to remove moisture from the air – if you don’t have working air-con, open the windows slightly for the same effect.

Do: Scrape while you wait

While waiting for the car’s heating and air-con to do their thing, start to scrape off the snow and ice.

The most efficient way to do this is with an ice scraper and de-icer. Ice scrapers are designed so they won’t scratch your windscreen so don’t be tempted to use CDs or credit cards as these can scrape the glass. A can of de-icer can be bought for around £2-£4 and will avoid the potential further freezing that may occur when using water.

So, there you have it, the dos and don’ts to clearing your windscreen in the winter months.

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Automotive Industry Digest

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