Snow, Ice, And Windshields: Clearing Up Your View With Winter Safety In Mind

Winter time is hard on cars. The extreme cold and mounting piles of ice and snow can be dangerous, especially for a car's windshield, which is sensitive to extremes of temperature. If you want to get the ice cleaned off of your car each day without putting its windshield at risk, you'll need to know what steps can make your car winter-safe -- and what steps might put it in danger.

Don't Get Your Windshield Too Hot

Like a cold glass being filled with hot water, a cold windshield that is heated up too quickly may sometimes shatter, or at least crack. For this reason, you should never pour hot or boiling water onto your car's windshield to remove ice and snow. Though you might succeed in getting rid of the ice, you could also destroy your windshield with some pretty serious cracks. 

Similarly, you should avoid using intense heating elements to melt the ice and snow. Hairdryers, heat lamps, and activated glove warmers, for example, can all provide enough heat to crack your windows.

You should also be careful with your car's defrost setting. Depending on how hot it gets, it could also be imperiling your windshield. Use the car's heater instead of the defroster to warm up the windshield in the mornings, or put the defroster on a setting below the maximum. It may take a little longer to get rid of the ice, but you won't have to worry about your windshield being in danger.

Prevent Ice And Snow From Sticking

If you don't have time in the mornings to wait for a slow defrost to take care of the snow on your windshield, you can take steps the night before to prevent it from piling up in the first place.

Cover The Windshield: One way to keep snow from sticking to the windshield is to invest in a tarp or specially made car blanket, which can be peeled off in the morning to remove any accumulated ice. If you want to try a DIY approach, some websites recommend using rubber bath mats to cover the windshield at night before you go to sleep, then peeling them off in the morning.

Use De-Icing Spray: De-icing spray prevents snow from sticking to your windshield altogether in some cases and in other cases simply facilitates easier cleanup once snow has built up on your windshield. You apply it at night before going to bed, and in the morning it shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes to remove snow from your car's windshield. De-icing products can be found in auto care stores, or you can try making your own at home if you want to keep your costs low.

Repair Chips And Cracks Quickly

Small damage to your windshield may seem unimportant. Many drivers opt not to have chips or tiny cracks repaired at all. However, allowing these spots to persist on your windshield may make it even more vulnerable to stress cracking. Extremes of temperature or pressure can build up around any windshield, but windshields that are already damaged are far less likely to hold up to the strain. 

If your windshield is damaged in any way, you should immediately stop using any defrosting methods that involve heat in order to protect it from potential temperature stress. You should also get in touch with your local windshield repairman and make an appointment to fix the problem areas. With a small repair bill paid in the present, you can hopefully avoid a bigger windshield replacement bill in the future.

Don't let the winter take the joy out of your morning drives. Whether you're headed to work, to school, or to play in the snow, you'll be able to drive safer knowing that your windshield is protected. Plus, if you have other questions about getting your windshield winter-safe, you can always call your local windshield technician for tips on how to keep your car's windows in perfect condition.

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