How to Maintain & Protect Your Windshield During the Winter Months
Is anything more beautiful than a crisp, frosty December morning in the Duluth/Superior area? When the world is blanketed in a frozen layer of white, the world can feel almost enchanted.
Unfortunately, a frosty morning also means spending extra time getting your car ready if you’ve been parked outside in the elements. And if you’re running late, spending extra time thawing out frozen windshields and locks can be a minor nuisance or even a disaster.
At Zenith Auto Glass, our auto glass replacement experts know that caring for your windshield is essential to preventing chips from turning into cracks that spread. In this post, we’re sharing advice for protecting your windshield during the winter months.
Follow this advice, and be sure to call if you’re in need of windshield repair this winter.
“Don’ts” of Preventing Frozen Windshields
If you ask your friends and family their tips for de-icing a frozen window, there’s a good chance you’re going to come up with a dozen different solutions. But just because it works doesn’t mean it’s best for your windshield. Many of our windshield repairs each year are due to mistakes made by the car owner.
Here are a few of the most common mistakes that can cause damage to your windshield’s seals or glass.
Using a Hair Dryer
A hairdryer might seem like a handy solution to thaw out your windshield. But the heat from a hair dryer can damage the seals or automotive window tinting on your windshield.
Never apply heat to your windshield, even if you’re using the dryer’s lowest setting.
Pouring Water on Your Windshield
Avoid pouring water on frozen glass. If you’ve ever caused a warm glass tumbler to break by adding ice cubes, you’re familiar with the concept of thermal shock. When the temperature of glass changes too quickly, this can cause the glass to crack.
Even lukewarm or cool water can cause the glass to crack if the glass is at or below freezing temperatures.
Using a Vinegar Solution
A common homespun method for dealing with frozen windshields is to apply a mixture of vinegar diluted with water. Vinegar should not be used on frozen glass as it can cause dings or pitting.
Don’t Use Metal or Alternative Items to Scrape the Ice Off
While it might seem like this is obvious, if you don't have a scraper, you might look for the next best thing to use. Avoid metal and any other abrasive materials because they can scratch the surface of the windshield. Never tap on the ice with a mallet or other tool because this could result in a replacement, and always use an ice scraper approved for your vehicle.
Use Caution With Frozen Doors
Frozen car doors and locks can be a tremendous source of frustration on a freezing day. Don’t make the mistake of muscling your car to get the door open. Not only can this cause damage to your doors and lock, but it can also damage your side windows, leading to the eventual need for side window repair.
If you use a de-icing solution around your door to thaw it, be careful to avoid the window. When you pull on the door handle, do so gently and slowly with extra attention to your window glass.
How to Protect Your Windshield This Winter
Instead of taking a chance with your windshield, use one of these methods for safely protecting it and keeping it free of ice.
Warm Windows Gradually
Plan ahead so you don’t have to rush on icy mornings if at all possible. It might be tempting to turn up the heat on full blast and speed up the thawing process, but warming your windshield gradually is a better solution. This is especially true if your windshield has chips or cracks that can worsen during the winter.
Our recommended defrosting steps include:
● Leaving The Air Conditioner Setting On
● Switching To The Highest Heat Setting
● Shutting Off The Recirculation
● Keep The Windows Cracked
Use a De-icing Solution
You can purchase a number of commercial de-icing solutions for your vehicle. You can also use a homemade solution made from two parts rubbing alcohol and one part water. Simply mix the formula and place it in a spray bottle for easy application.
To add to this, keeping your windows free of debris and bug splatter can help make the de-icing process easier because there is no build-up to cling to, and keeping them clean will reduce streaking and haze for a safer driving experience.
Add a Protective Barrier
One trick for keeping ice off your windshield is adding a protective barrier between the elements and your windshield. Although you can use almost anything from a towel to cardboard in a pinch, the best barrier is a frost-free windshield cover. You can find affordable barriers at almost any automotive shop.
These barriers are weather-resistant and wind-resistant to stay in your car even in the most challenging weather. Simply lay it over your windshield when you park and remove it before you head out the next morning.
Park Facing East
Have you ever regretted an east-facing parking lot on a summer morning due to the heat? That same solar heat can be your best friend on a frosty morning.
Since the sun rises in the east, parking in the path of direct morning sunlight means you’ll have a natural de-icer. To prevent frozen wiper blades, simply wipe them down with rubbing alcohol when you park for the night.
Managing Frost On the Inside of Your Vehicle
We’ve covered how to manage ice on the outside of your windshield. But once you’ve thawed your windows and taken off, the inside of your windshield and windows can be difficult to defrost. The key to dealing with interior frost is limiting moisture inside your vehicle.
Snow and rain can enter your interior through your shoes and clothing, leading to condensation and foggy windows. Anytime moisture gets into your vehicle, try to soak it up and crack your windows to dry out your vehicle.
You can also use your car’s A/C unit to create a dry heat that removes moisture from the air. While you’re driving, use a sponge or chalkboard eraser to remove moisture from the inside of your windows.
Using your front and rear defrosters will help, and because they're separated, this gives you complete interior coverage. Make sure your vehicle is completely heated up, and while you're using the A/C trick, rolling down the windows can help even out the moisture produced inside the vehicle.
Applying anti-foggers can come in handy because they coat the windows, making it harder for moisture to stick to the glass. You can also consider investing in a car humidifier that’s fully customizable for whatever level of control you need.
Expert Auto Glass Services in Duluth
If the winter weather causes your windshield to crack, our car window repair pros at Zenith Auto Glass can get it repaired fast.
Contact us online or call to request an offer at 218-275-5555. Have a safe and happy holiday season from our family to yours!