How to Deice a Car Windscreen: Here's the quickest way to safely get on the road on a cold winter morning

There are plenty of supposed 'hacks' on how to clear an iced-up windscreen - but this is the simplest and fastest way.
A frozen windscreen is a common sight during the winter months.A frozen windscreen is a common sight during the winter months.
A frozen windscreen is a common sight during the winter months.

The temperatures are dropping below zero and three months of winter are upon us.

It's a tricky time for motorists, as driving conditions can be dreadful and failure to make the required checks to cars can leave to hefty fines.

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But before you can even release the handbrake for the daily commute there's the matter of clearing the windscreen of ice so you can see where you're going.

Clearing a patch or half of the windscreen isn't enough - the law says that you must fully clear it, along with windows and mirrors before setting off.

Here's the quickest way to be on your way.

Don’t use hot water

Throwing a kettle of hot water over your car might be tempting but the rapid temperature change can cause the windscreen to crack - an expensive lesson that need only be taught one. This is particularly the case if you have existing cracks or chips in your windscreen and you should avoid even using warm water. If the temperatures are particularly cold the water could even quickly refreeze, just making the problem worse.

Turn your windscreen wipers off

If you start the car when your windscreen wipers are on from the day before they may be frozen to the windscreen which can cause damage to both the wiper blades and the engine that runs them

Start your engine

Started your engine and activate your heated rear window and, if you have them, heated front screen and mirrors.

Get the fans going

Set the fans to blow warm air on the windscreen and make sure the air conditioning (if you have it) is switched on. This will help warm the glass gently to melt the ice on the outside and help clear condensation on the inside of the screen. The air con helps remove moisture from the air to clear the glass quicker. Don’t use air recirculation, this just traps the moist air in the car.

Clear any snow

Clear all loose snow off your car using a sift brush, including all the windows, roof and number plate. It’s illegal to drive with impaired vision or with snow which could fall off your car and cause a hazard for other drivers. If you don't clear it all properly you could face a fine of up to £2,500.

Scrape the ice

Use a proper ice scraper (credit cards and other makeshift implements can scrathc your windscreen glass) to clear the ice while your car is warming up. Be careful if you're wearing jewellery as this can also damage your car.

Clear condensation

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As you clear the ice condensation may build up on the inside of the windscreen - perhaps even freezing if your car has yet to warm up. Use a clean cloth to wipe it away - your car fans should prevent it from returning.

Spray if needed

A deicer spray can help speed things up - and stop ice from reforming - but if you don't want to buy it from a shop (they can be damaging to both the environment and your paintwork) you can make your own. Mix 1/3 of a cup of water with 2/3 of a cup rubbing alcohol, pop it in a spray bottle and use as you would a shop-bought product.

Stay with your car

If your car is parked on the street it is illegal to leave it unattended with the engine running. Even if it’s on your own property you shouldn’t step away from it, an unattended car with the engine running is an easy target for opportunistic thieves.

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