3 Cheap Ways To Protect Your Windshield This Winter

Freezing temperatures make driving more difficult in a number of ways. Icy roads are harder to drive on and snow makes it hard to see while you're driving. Then there's the possibility that your windshield will freeze overnight. At best, you have to waste precious time in the morning scraping the ice off of your windshield. At worst, your windshield could crack due to the extreme temperatures. Either way, you're better off knowing how to prevent your windshield from freezing if possible, and how to gently remove the ice from your glass if it freezes anyway.

One thing you should never do is pour hot water on your frozen windshield. The sudden temperature change can cause thermal shock and cause the glass to crack. Here are a few inexpensive ways you can protect your glass this winter.

Cover it Up

Msure that your windshield is covered. This doesn't mean you have to go out and buy an expensive car cover, though – a large piece of cardboard, a tarp, or a double-folded sheet should do the trick. Just secure the covering with bungee straps or weights.

There is one disadvantage to covering your windshield to protect it from the snow, however. If you're expecting a heavy snowfall overnight, you may find that removing your protective covering is more trouble than it's worth. The weight of the snow will weigh down your covering, and you'll be a wet, snow-covered mess by the time you remove it.

If you know there's a heavy snowfall coming, or if you just prefer not to mess with weights and straps, you may want to try a different method of protection.

Be Proactive in Preventing Ice

The next best way to protect your windshield is by spraying it with a substance that will prevent ice from building up in the first place. You can buy bottles of ice prevention spray from an auto parts store, but these can be pretty price, and it's simple to make an effective ice prevention spray at home. Just mix a solution of three parts vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle, and spray it on your windshield at night before you go to bed.

You may have heard rumors that vinegar will strip away your car's paint or cause it to become discolored if it comes in contact with the paint job. However, this is a myth. The only way that vinegar might damage your car's paint is if it were left on the body of the car for a long period of time in the sunlight. Using it on your windshield at night is unlikely to cause any paint damage, even if some of the vinegar accidentally comes in contact with the body of the car.

De-Ice Gently and Quickly

Sometimes the temperatures are cold enough that your windshield will develop frost despite your best efforts. During a snowstorm, or on a very cold night, frost can form even if you've covered the glass or coated it with an ice preventing spray. Or, you may have simply forgotten to take precautions the night before. Don't worry. There's a simple and inexpensive way to gently remove the ice from your windshield glass.

Mix two parts 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol with one part water in a spray bottle. Because rubbing alcohol has a much lower freezing temperature than water, the mixture will cause the ice to begin melting immediately. Like vinegar, it won't harm your car. Alcohol evaporates quickly, which is why it doesn't make an effective frost preventer, but it will definitely help remove the frost from your windshield without requiring you to spend a lot of time and energy with the scraper.

Extreme temperatures can make your windshield more vulnerable to cracks and breakage, so it's important to take extra care of your windshield during the cold winter months. If you notice any chips or cracks, arrange to have windshield replacement or repair right away for your own safety.