Vehicle window defrosting tips

November 3rd 2015 | Benjamin Yong
Iced-over car windows can be a pain in the morning to defrost, but it's not that bad if you know what to do.


There’s nothing worse than when you’re already running a few minutes late in the morning, rushing out the door to your car parked outside, only to find all the windows completely frosted up. Don’t despair — there are a few tricks to make sure you get on your way as safely and quickly as possible.

Do's:

• Start the engine

Turn on your vehicle and let it run for a few minutes to get everything warmed up. There’s no point in having cold air blast through the vents, so leave the fan off for now.

• Defog/defrost

Once things have started to heat up, enable the windshield defog and rear window defroster. Set a warm temperature and then turn on the fan. Here’s a tip: although it sounds counterintuitive, activate A/C if you have it, and choose the recirculate air function. This ensures dry air is flowing towards the glass and will allow the windshield to clear up quicker.

• Scrape

Dig out your ice scraper (I recommend one of the longer ones with a brush on the end if you have it to make the task easier, but any will do), and begin to remove the frost on the driver’s side of the windshield, and then the passenger’s. Afterwards, work your way around to the rest of the windows.

Don’ts:

• Splash hot water

Although throwing steaming water onto the car sounds like a quick way to unfreeze everything in one go, you don’t want to risk cracking a windshield. Have you ever put a cheap mug from the fridge into the microwave and heard the ensuing snap crackle and pop? This could turn out like that, but worse.

• Leave your vehicle

The last thing you want to do after turning on the engine is stand outside, shivering to death, watching your vehicle slowly warm up. That is arguably a better alternative than having your car stolen while you go back inside the house for a couple of minutes, like it happened to several people in Toronto last winter.

One last piece of advice:

If you know you won’t have much time the next day to spend thawing out your automobile, park indoors or in a covered area if you can, or place a cover on your windshield to keep the ice off. Something like a large piece of cloth will work in a pinch, or pick up a speciality product like Subzero ArticGuard.

About the Author

Benjamin Yong is a freelance journalist and communications professional living in Richmond, B.C. He is often found writing about cars and the auto industry, amongst other things, or driving around in his work-in-progress 1990 Mazda MX-5.

Twitter: @b_yong
Instagram: @popuplights

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