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How to Defrost Car Windows
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How to Defrost Car Windows

It’s officially winter in Minnesota: dark mornings, heavy coats, and the frosty hustle out the door! Navigating the winter chill can feel challenging, especially when dealing with the treacherous roads and needing to defrost the ice off your car!

In this post from Zenith Auto Glass, our auto glass repair team is taking a closer look at car window defrosting to create the ultimate guide to defrosting your windows this winter.

To schedule your Minnesota auto glass repair services, call us today!

How Your Vehicle’s Defrost Works

Most vehicles have a front and rear defrost feature. Both types of defrost will work better when you keep your heat on high during the winter months because it helps to dry out the air inside your vehicle.

Front Defrost

●        Your front defroster is connected to your vehicle’s ventilation and heating system.

●        Your defrost doesn’t work well until your vehicle is heated up.

●        Some vehicles also include the option to defrost on both the windshield and floorboard levels.

Rear Defrost

●        Your rear defrost is operated separately and uses a wire grid inside the rear glass.

●        Rear defrost works instantly after it’s turned on.

●        Generally, a car’s rear defrost is on a timer.

●        Some rear defrost features will also heat up and defrost your side mirrors.

The Challenge: Defrost Windows Without Fogging Up

Once you manage to chip away the ice on your car and start to warm it up, you’ve got a whole new set of problems on your plate. As the frost melts away, your car can end up with foggy windows that make driving challenging and even dangerous. 

Although we tend to think of foggy windows as a winter problem, window fog can occur throughout the year, depending on the level of humidity and condensation. Unfortunately, when a window is covered in fog, it impedes a driver’s view, creating a dangerous scenario.

Anytime there is fog inside your vehicle and the temperature outside your vehicle is colder, the result is a foggy window. This means that defrosting your windows can actually lead to increased window fog.

Additionally, any moisture inside your vehicle from hot breath, melted snow, or wet shoes can aggravate the issue as it condenses onto your windows. However, the effect will eventually dissipate after the entire window glass warms up. Understanding this is essential to defrost and defog your windows effectively.

What Can You Do to Reduce Fogging?

The biggest step to keeping the window fog-free is making sure your car is heated up; this naturally repels the cold and the frost and ensures that your driving experience is safer. Other factors can cause the fogging to continue even when the car is warmed up, so we recommend the following:

●        Rolling down your windows to remove excess heat inside the vehicle

●        Limit items that can bring extra moisture inside, like hot drinks or place wet clothing on the floorboards

●        Invest in an anti-fogger or use a microfiber cloth to remove the excess buildup

●        Choose an approved dehumidifier to absorb moisture from the air

●        Stay on top of keeping your windows clean to remove dust and grime that can potentially attract condensation

With this knowledge, the trick to getting clear car windows on a cold winter morning is easier than you think!

Defrosting Your Windows as Fast as Possible

Most drivers deal with foggy, frosty windows by kicking up their car’s defrost feature on high. The defrost feature uses the air conditioner to create dry air, reducing the humidity near your windows and clearing away window condensation. In most vehicles, the defrost feature works most effectively on a vehicle’s front windshield and front side windows.

According to Autoweek, to make the most of your defrost function, follow these steps for the fastest possible defrosting:

●        Leave your air conditioner on

●        Move your heater to the highest heat setting

●        Turn off your recirculation feature

●        Crack your windows

What to Do When Your Defrost Doesn’t Work

When it’s below freezing outside, the last thing you need is to get into your car and realize your defroster doesn’t seem to be working. And because visibility is an issue, you really shouldn’t be driving without your defrost feature.

If your front defrost feature is not working effectively, check to see if it’s due to one of the following problems.

Low Coolant

Low engine coolant levels will prevent your car’s heater from producing enough heat, which means your defrost feature won’t work correctly.

To fix this problem, add coolant after your car has been sitting for a while. Next, warm up your car and turn on your defrost to see if it does the trick.

Intake Problems

Can you still hear your blower motor even though there’s no air coming out of the vents? If so, there could be an issue with your defroster’s fresh air intake.

Blower Motor Problems

If you turned on your defrost and didn’t hear the blower motor, try switching back through the air conditioner and heater. Still hearing nothing? You might have a blower mower problem or even a bad fuse.

Controls Are Stuck

There’s always the chance that your faulty defrost could be an issue related to your controls.

Rear Defrost Issues

Rear defrosters can run into their own issues. These are some of the more common rear defrost problems you may encounter.

Bad Connections

Any connection problems between the grid and the car’s electric system could lead to rear defroster malfunction.

Bad or Damaged Grid

The tiny wires and components that make up your car’s rear defroster system grid are very fragile. Over time, they can become worn out or broken.

Bad Fuse or Control Switch

A complete lack of power to your rear defrost could mean a bad fuse or broken control switch is at fault.

Tips for Maintaining Your Windshield in the Winter

Frosty mornings in Minnesota present a pristine feel but require extra time to prep your car if parked outside.

Keeping the windshield safe starts with a few of our expert tips, which include:

●        Never use a hair dryer to thaw windows because it can't damage the tinting and the seals

●        Do not pour water if the glass is frozen because the temperature differences can cause cracking

●        Avoid using metal to scrape the ice off, and always only use recommended ice scrapers

●        Turn the heat on full blast but only increase it gradually

●        Use a deicing solution and apply via a spray bottle

●        Invest in a protective cover to add a layer of protection against elements

Call the Zenith of Duluth-Superior Auto Glass Replacement Services

Always give yourself some extra time in the mornings when you need to defrost your vehicle; this way, you know it's done correctly and keep you safer behind the wheel. Taking the proper steps is critical, so don’t take a chance on a bad defrost or cracked windshield this winter!

Contact Zenith Auto Glass online or give us a call at 218-275-5555 to schedule your convenient auto glass replacement services today!

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