When driving, you are forced to interact with the elements such as snow, ice, fog, and rain. Ice will form on your windshield if the temperatures drop below the freezing point.
When this happens, it can be really hard – if not impossible – to see, which is a recipe for disaster. Before you proceed with your journey, read these tips on how to keep windshield from freezing while driving.
Can My Windshield Freeze While Driving?
Car windows can freeze because of a number of reasons. Knowing why your car keeps freezing will help you find a solution pretty easily. Some common culprits include:
- Failing to warm up your car or scrape off ice/snow
- Excess moisture or humidity inside your car
- Snowy weather conditions
In extreme cases, an especially huge ice storm can make it extremely difficult to drive even for the most experienced drivers. The freezing rain will blur your windshield and render your wipers virtually useless.
How to Keep Windshield from Freezing While Driving
Step 1 – Pull Over
Immediately you notice ice on your windshield, pull over the car in a safe location. Ice can limit visibility, which is extremely dangerous when driving.
Once the vehicle is safely parked, turn on the windshield defrosters to the maximum. These should warm the surface of your windshield and make it difficult for ice crystals to appear on the outside.
You can also use these heaters to melt the ice that is already on your car windows so that it can be easily cleared with the windshield wipers or by hand.
Step 2 – Scrape off The Ice
Get your ice scraper once you have the set up the windshield defrosters. Gently start clearing all of the snow and ice from the exterior of your windshield. This process can take some time, so try to be patient.
Step 3 – Apply Rubbing Alcohol
You should be able to defrost and remove the ice on your car window using the last two steps. To prevent the ice from reforming, apply a solution of rubbing alcohol on your windshield and windshield wipers after clearing off all the ice.
This fluid will lower the freezing point of water, thus preventing moisture from condensing and creating ice crystals on your car window.
How to Defrost Windshield While Driving
If you don’t want to purchase a pre-made chemical, you can create your own DIY deicer using a few household items. For instance, you can apply a solution of dish soap and rubbing alcohol on your frozen windshield to defrost and melt the ice.
Vinegar is also commonly used to remove ice from car windows, but you should be careful as it may eventually ruin your paint finish. A good recipe would include 2/3 cup of rubbing alcohol, 1/3 cup of water, and a spurt of dish soap.
If you notice ice forming on the inside of your vehicle, you may have a problem with your heating system.
Moisture from the floor mats tends to rise and condense on the windshield, where it then freezes over to form ice crystals.
You can avoid this by ensuring that your car stays dry, but you may also want to check if your heating system is working well.
If you have a compromised heating system, have a mechanic repair it as soon as possible. Meanwhile, it would be a good idea to consider leaving some windows slightly open to let moist air escape.
If your system is okay, you should be able to clear off all the ice on the inside of your windows by simply warming up the car.
How to Keep Windshield Wipers from Freezing While Driving
Apart from your windshield, your windshield wipers can also freeze while driving.
This typically happens when the moisture on your car windows drops below freezing, causing the wipers to freeze to the windshield. Here is how to keep windshield wipers from freezing while driving.
1. Use windshield washer antifreeze
Get a quality washer fluid with the lowest freezing point, which should ideally be about -45 degrees Celsius. Apply this on your windshield wipers to keep them from freezing over.
2. Protect your windshield and washer nozzles
Keep ice and snow off your windshield and washer nozzles. Blocked nozzles will be a nuisance when you are trying to clear your windshield. Be sure to clean the wiper blades as well.
3. Clean off all the ice and snow from your vehicle
If you leave any snow on your vehicle, it may find its way back onto your windshield and obstruct vision. Make sure that your vehicle is clear of all ice and snow before you start driving.
How to Unfreeze Windshield Wipers
If your windshield wipers freeze to your windshield, it can take some time to separate them. Of course, this will all depend on the type of weather and current temperature.
For instance, freezing rain will require chipping the ice away while a heavy frost can be dealt with using deicer washer fluid.
NB: The wipers should be off before you begin unfreezing them. If you turn them on while frozen to the windshield, they will be damaged.
Here is what you need to do to unfreeze your windshield wipers:
1. Warm up your vehicle and turn on the defroster. This will cause the ice on the inside to melt.
2. Gently clear off any snow or ice near the wipers, being sure not to tear up the fragile rubber blade in the process.
3. Now as carefully as possible, lift the wiper blade and then stop if you feel some resistance. If you continue you risk bending the wiper arm or tearing the wiper blade.
4. Spray deicer along the wiper to help defrost the ice.
5. Wait a few minutes for the solution to work. Meanwhile you can take this time to clean off the rest of your car.
6. Try scraping the ice around the wipers again. Remember to do this gently to avoid damaging the wiper blade.
7. Now try pulling up the wiper once more. Do this intermittently until you are able to separate the windshield wiper from the windshield.
8. Once you are able to lift the wipers completely up, clean them and the area around the base to get rid of the ice.
9. Lastly, spray your windshield washer fluid on the inside of your windshield to clean off any slop remaining on the glass.
FAQs on Frozen Windshields
Should I raise my windshield wipers when it snows?
It is not advisable to leave your windshield wipers up when it snows. During low temperatures, glass tends to become more brittle and can therefore easily shutter if the wiper comes down abruptly on your windshield.
At what temperature will my windshield freeze?
Your windshield will start freezing at 32 degrees. Frost forms when the glass cools below freezing point, which is 32 degrees.
Can you use salt to unfreeze your windshield?
Yes, salt can be an effective deicer. To make your own saltwater deicer, just stir a few teaspoons of salt in water and transfer the solution into a spray bottle. Use this solution sparingly as too much salt can damage your windshield.
Frozen windshield and windshield wipers are hazardous as they can obstruct your vision when driving.
Hopefully you will stay safe by following the measures above on how to keep windshield from freezing while driving. If your vehicle has trouble warming up, be sure to consult a qualified and experienced car mechanic.