Now that December is here, it is only a matter of time before winter weather will be in full effect. This means you will probably end up having to devote some time to cleaning and scraping ice and snow off of your car before your morning commute in the coming weeks. Every Canadian knows how annoying this can be, especially when you are in a hurry to get to work or an appointment in the morning. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can prevent any major buildups of frost and ice on your windows that will slow you down in the morning, even if you park your car outside overnight. These tips can also help your windshield wipers last longer, and keep your car running smoothly this season.
Reducing Frost Inside your Windshield
One of the most annoying things people come across when clearing frost off of their window is frost that builds up inside the vehicle. Most people will try and scrape this frost off as they would on the outside of the windshield, but this is usually not a good idea. Cars today are often made with a thin layer of plastic on the inside of the windshield that is designed to prevent glass from shattering on the driver and passenger in the event of an accident. Any auto body repair expert will tell you that this plastic can quickly become scratched and ineffective if it is scraped, so it is best to avoid scraping it all together.
Inner frost is a result of warm air inside the car creating condensation on the window and then freezing overnight. To avoid the buildup of inner frost, it is a good idea to remove any wet floor mats or other damp items from your vehicle at the end of the day. You may also want to try cooling the air temperature of the vehicle down before you finish driving for the day by reducing the heat for the last few minutes of your commute home.
Faster Isn’t Always Better
In some cases, you may think that blasting warm air inside your car will reduce the buildup of frost on the windows. While this is true in some cases, turning your vehicle’s heat and fan settings to their highest level is really not the best way to reduce the frost buildup, since the air that gets used often comes from the outside. In these cases, your fan can actually act as a source of cold air and will be counterproductive to the removal of frost and ice. To quickly get your car and windows heated up, it is best to run your car’s engine block heater an hour or so before you turn on the fans. This will ensure that warm air gets evenly and immediately distributed when you do turn on the heat and defogger, and will make it a lot easier to clean your car in the morning.
Avoid So-Called “Instant” Solutions
When we refer to solutions here, we are actually talking about some mixtures of liquids that people claim will prevent the buildup of ice and frost all together. You may have heard of some people wiping a mixture of water, vinegar and/or rubbing alcohol on their windows to eliminate the buildup of frost. While these solutions may work well on the glass, they often lead to premature cracking of the rubber on windshield wipers and the seals around your windshield itself. In either case, you can compromise not only your visibility or comfort, but more importantly the safety of you and your passengers. Rather than using this solution to protect your windshield, you may simply want to cover the windshield with cardboard to reduce the buildup of frost in the morning. You can also cover your side view mirrors with a plastic bag overnight as well.
Whether you live on the East Coast, the prairies, or right here in Richmond and Vancouver, winter can be a long and cold season up in Canada, and can seem longer and colder if you are constantly having to clean frost off your car every morning before work. Hopefully these tips will help you take some of the nuisance out of winter driving. For more information about how you can keep your car running smoothly this winter, visit us online, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook to receive our latest updates.