Clean Snow and Ice off Your Car
How to ensure visibility without damaging your vehicle.
Cleaning off your vehicle after a snowfall may take time and effort and keep you from departing when you want to. But doing so is important: Any leftover snow or ice could obstruct your view or fly off and strike other vehicles. And, in some states, you can be fined if your car isn’t cleared.
To prevent accidents and avoid a ticket, make it a point to fully clean your windshield, windows, hood, roof, trunk and mirrors before hitting the road. Here’s how to do it without scratching, scuffing or otherwise marring your vehicle’s surfaces.
Clearing Off Snow and Ice
You could damage the body of your vehicle if you’re not careful when cleaning it. It’s easy, though, to avoid dents, scratches and cracks with these tips:
- Turn on your front and back window defrosters immediately after starting your vehicle.
- Chip ice off your windshield, windows and mirrors with an ice scraper.
- Don’t pull at or turn on frozen windshield wipers — you could damage the wipers or the motor. Instead gradually chip away at the ice buildup or wait for the defroster to melt it enough to where it’s easy to remove.
- Brush off snow — even large amounts — instead of using a shovel. Even plastic shovels can scratch the paint. For extra surface protection, wrap a microfiber cloth around your snow brush.
- While it seems logical, never use hot water to speed up deicing. The sudden temperature change could cause windows to crack. And the puddle left behind could create a dangerous ice patch when the water freezes.
Preventing Snow and Ice Buildup
Snow and ice are frustrating, especially when you have to spend time in the cold clearing your car. Be proactive by using these tips:
- If possible, park your car in a garage or carport when it snows or if ice or bitter cold is in the forecast.
- Place a piece of cardboard or carpet on the outside of your windshield. Not only can it collect the snow and make it easier to remove, you also can place the material under your tires for added traction if you ever find yourself stuck in a snowdrift.
- Put socks over your wipers; then pull up the wiper blades to prevent them from freezing to the windshield.
- Slip plastic bags over your mirrors.
- Spray cooking oil on rubber door seals to prevent them from freezing shut.