How to Remove Ice From Your Car


Everything you need to know about snow and ice removal

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When you live in areas prone to bad weather, you face challenges that many other motorists might not even think about, such as how to get ice off your windshield or dig your automobile out of a snowdrift. Luckily, automakers are not quite so ignorant of the plight, which is why so many modern vehicles come equipped with a host of new features to help you deal with any problem you may face. And where the experts do not have anything to offer, there are always a few DIY hacks from some of the savvy drivers out there.

Snow Buildup

How to Thaw Frozen Car Doors and Locks

Many of the best ways to deal with cars frozen in ice rely on internal technologies, but this is impossible if you can't even get in because the car doors are frozen shut. A simple gadget solves this problem, though; you can most likely find some lock de-icer at a nearby supply or department store, and it is just as easy. If you find yourself unprepared, you can create your own de-icer solution by mixing some water with rubbing alcohol. Using it is a simple process of spraying the liquid into the keyhole and waiting for the ice to melt and pour out. Gently, but firmly, stick your key inside to check for any residual obstruction and repeat the process if you cannot get it in all the way. For more on this, read our post about frozen car doors, here.

How to Remove Ice on the Windshield

Of the many problems you're likely to face with an ice-covered car, one of the easiest to solve is how to remove ice from the windshield. There are several ways to do so, both from outside and inside the vehicle.

  • If the problem is not too serious, the best way to remove ice from the car windshield is to rely on the internal defrosting mechanism. Simply enter the vehicle, start the engine, and turn the heating temperature up to maximum while the defrost function is active.
  • However, if the ice is more stubborn or there is a particularly thick layer, there are a number of solutions for those who want to know how to get ice off the windshield fast. As with frozen locks, you can use liquid de-icer. There are several available at local stores or online, but you can also create some using a simple windshield de-icer spray recipe. This generally involves mixing some rubbing alcohol or salt into a bottle of water. This can be sprayed onto the windshield to quickly melt away the problem.
  • Of course, you may need to scrape off some excess ice and snow; just make sure you use a plastic scraper to avoid damaging the windows.
  • If you want thawing to take place as quickly as possible, you could do all three steps in conjunction.
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Remove Ice on the Car
Ice on the Windshield

Getting Rid of Ice and Snow

Of course, ice and snow is a problem for more than just the windshield. It can surround, and even bury an entire vehicle, and what could be less fun than digging your Dodge Challenger or Chevrolet Camaro out of a snow bank? But that doesn't mean there are not a number of tips for how to remove ice from a car. Here is a quick breakdown of ways to fix the problem of a car encased in snow or ice so that you can get to driving.

Tips for Clearing Ice from Your Car

  1. Use a brush to clean off the snow from your car. You should use a proper snow brush for your car and never shovel, though, as this runs the risk of damaging the vehicle.
  2. Once you have gotten rid of the majority of the obstruction, you should give the metal surfaces a hard but careful smack with your hand to loosen up some of the more stubborn precipitation.
  3. Check that the front grille and exhaust tailpipe are not obstructed so that you can safely start the automobile.
  4. Once you can enter the vehicle, do so and start the engine. Turn the heat up and set the front and rear vents to defrost. Warming up your car in the morning in winter can take up to ten minutes, so this gives you plenty of time to fully defrost all the windows.
  5. Many modern cars come outfitted with a remote engine start function, which allows you to heat up your car faster.
  6. There is no conventional headlight de-icer, but turning them on for a short time creates enough heat.
  7. Do not activate the windshield wipers until all the ice has been removed from the windshield or the extra friction and potential obstruction might damage the motor.

How to Prevent Ice and Snow Buildup on Your Car

Naturally, the best way to protect your car is to ensure it is safely parked in your garage. This is not always possible, though, so here are few steps you can take to protect it outside. Afterwards, just use the tools for cleaning snow off a car we have already provided.

  • Cover the mirrors. You can use socks or plastic bags.
  • You can also cover the windows with cardboard, and spraying on some ice prevention fluid does not hurt, either.
  • Apply cooking oil to rubber seals on the door. This helps to prevent the doors from freezing over.
Frozen Glass

Most Useful Winter Features for Heating up Your Car

Thanks to advancements in automotive gadgetry, there are various tools at your disposal to help heat up your car and make dealing with cold weather more comfortable, whether you drive a smart sedan or a tough SUV. These include:

  • Heated side mirrors
  • Heated windscreen, wipers, and washer nozzles
  • Remote engine start and automatic climate control
  • Heated steering wheel, and front and rear seats
  • Neck warmer
  • Block heater


Can you pour boiling water on a frozen car or windshield?

While it may seem like an easy way to clean snow off a car, it is not advisable. This is especially true with regard to the windows, as the sudden heat difference may cause cracking of the glass.

What is needed to make your own windshield de-icer?

There are a few viable recipes. One of the more reliable solutions is water mixed with rubbing alcohol. Alternatively, salt can be used, in which case proper road salt is preferable.

How often should you change your windshield wiper blades?

It is advised that you replace windshield wipers once every six months, though if you deal with ice and snow regularly, a slightly shorter timeframe may be better.

How long should you let your car warm up before driving?

Heating up your car properly before setting out is important. In normal conditions, a minute or so is enough time, but in harsh winter conditions, a ten minute idling period is advised.

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