Driving tip: How to defrost your windscreen
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As the thermometer takes another icy plunge across the UK, motorists will need to factor in time to defrost their car windscreens. Although there may seem to be some simple ways to reduce the time spent outside waiting for the ice on your windscreen to melt, a motoring expert has urged drivers not to be “tempted”.
Mat Watson is the head of consumer car media creator CarWow which boasts over seven million subscribers on its YouTube page. Mat also shares tips on Instagram with an audience of a new 749K followers.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mat explained the importance of using safe methods to de-ice your car, rather than tactics which may seem to speed up the process but could actually be detrimental. He said: “One thing you should never do is pour boiling water on a car’s windscreen or windows – you run a very real risk of cracking the glass due to thermal shock.”
Glass begins to expand quickly when hot water touches it before contracting quickly as the temperature begins to drop. This sudden change can lead to large cracks or smaller ones which get bigger over time.
If you don’t have a de-icer to hand and want to melt the ice from the outside, Mat shared a safer option. “Warm water inside a sealed kitchen food bag is an alternative to the conventional de-icer and scraper combination,” he said. “But the important thing is to allow extra time in the mornings to thoroughly defrost your car.”
However, even if you do allow time for your car to heat up from the inside, a common mistake is to leave a vehicle running and return inside to warm up yourself. Mat explained: “Don’t be tempted to leave it running on the driveway or street and pop back inside the house for five minutes. As well as being illegal, you could leave your car vulnerable to thieves.”
Instead, he recommends popping on some extra layers and staying with your car during the process. “When de-icing, make sure your windscreen wipers are off, the rubber can rip if they try to move from a frozen position,” he said.
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“Start the engine, turn up the fan and temperature, pop the heated rear windscreen on and sit with your car as it warms up.”
Taking the time to allow the entirety of your car to warm up is crucial. “However much you clear ice from the outside of the windows, and even if you’re lucky enough to have a heated front windscreen, you’ll want the engine to have warmed up a little so you can effectively de-mist the inside of the car, and not be sitting in a fridge on wheels,” added Mat.
He continued: “The only exception to this rule is that owners of electric cars can take advantage of what’s known as ‘preconditioning’, which allows you to turn the car’s cabin heater on remotely, or come on at a specific time when the car is plugged in and charging, allowing you to go out to a toasty, defrosted car, without any hanging about.”
How to safely defrost your car windscreen
Check your wipers
Begin by making sure your wipers are not switched on before you start the car’s engine. In some cases, your wipers may have frozen to the glass. This runs the risk of damaging the wiper motor, meaning they could suddenly tear off when the wipers start.
Turn on the engine
Once your engine has started, turn on the warm air blower aimed towards the windscreen. If you have a rear windscreen heater or heated mirrors, you should switch them on too. Air conditioning can help to remove any moisture which is in the car and will stop the interior glass from steaming up. Make sure to stay with your car the whole time the engine is running.
Scrape your windscreen
You can make use of the time you are waiting for the car to heat up from the inside by scraping. Use a windscreen scraper to remove any ice or snow on the outside of your car. A can of de-icer can also make the job much easier.
Make sure the class is clear
Even if you’re in a hurry, it is safest to make sure the glass is totally clear of ice before beginning your journey. This is why it is so crucial to allow plenty of time.
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