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Know How Notes: How to Deice Your Car

With the beauty of a fresh winter snow comes the frustration of cleaning your car so you can get to work. Unfortunately, this has to be done in freezing cold and often wet conditions. Clearing the snow and ice in the fastest way possible gets you on the road and out of the cold. To help you get the job done as efficiently as possible, we have put together a few helpful tips for how to deice your car.

Prepare the Night Before

If you know snow and ice are coming, then take a few minutes in the evening to prep your vehicle. Turn the heat to full blast and on defrost so it will be set when you start your car in the morning. Lift your windshield wipers off the glass so that they don’t get stuck. You can also place a piece of cardboard over the glass. This is good for heavy snow, but not ice. If ice is possible, the cardboard can make things worse.

Gear Up

You need to have some products on hand before the storm. What you choose is up to you, but here are the basics that you should always have on hand:

Ice scraper with brush (plastic or nylon NO METAL)

A good quality scraper brush is a must-have for winter weather. Make sure it is all plastic, no metal blades. A metal blade will damage the coating on the glass.

A good quality scraper brush is a must-have for winter weather. Make sure it is all plastic, no metal blades. A metal blade will damage the coating on the glass.

De-icer spray

Light ice is easy to remove, but heavy icing is not. Do yourself a favor and keep a can of de-icing spray on hand in every vehicle.

Light ice is easy to remove, but heavy icing is not. Do yourself a favor and keep a can of de-icing spray on hand in every vehicle.

Lock De-Icer

If you have a vehicle without keyless entry, a door lock de-icer is a life saver.

If you have a vehicle without keyless entry, a door lock de-icer is a life saver.

Ice Melt salt

To make your journey to the car easier, you can lay out a path to the car with ice melt the night before. Ice melt will help keep the ice from sticking to the ground, making it easier to walk. You will still need to salt again, but it will be easier to do so.

To make your journey to the car easier, you can lay out a path to the car with ice melt the night before. Ice melt will help keep the ice from sticking to the ground, making it easier to walk. You will still need to salt again, but it will be easier to do so.

Clearing the Way

Once the snow and ice have come, you need to clear your vehicle. Begin by starting the vehicle with the temp cranked up and on defrost. If you have a rear defroster, turn it on too.  NEVER EVER use hot water to melt the ice. This can shatter your glass. Instead, use the brush portion of your scraper to clear the loose snow until you get to a solid layer. Use the de-icer spray to melt the ice. Spray it on liberally in a small area and use the scraper to remove it. You don’t want to spray the entire windshield at once as it will just melt and possibly refreeze , making it even harder to remove.

Mac's De-Icer is a little different from the other spray de-icers, instead of a narrow stream, this one is a wide spray. We were not sure how well this would work. It actually worked better than expected.

Mac’s De-Icer is a little different from the other spray de-icers, instead of a narrow stream, this one is a wide spray. We were not sure how well this would work. It actually worked better than expected.

 

If the ice is really thick, use the scraper to carve a groove in the ice. Once you reach the glass, you can then spray the deicer onto the glass and work the scraper under the ice to peel it off in sheets. The same trick works great for the side glass too.

We let the de-icer soak into the ice for a few minutes while we looked for the scraper. The ice peeled right off, it was really impressive.

We let the de-icer soak into the ice for a few minutes while we looked for the scraper. The ice peeled right off, it was really impressive.

 

If the ice is really bad, you may need to deice the door handle and lock too. You can pick up a lock de-icer which is essentially the same stuff that comes in the big can, but it is designed to go into the lock itself and melt any ice. Otherwise, you can use the spray de-icer on the door handle.

The Mac's De-Icer worked so well on the side windows that we didn't even have to scrape at all, it just melted.

The Mac’s De-Icer worked so well on the side windows that we didn’t even have to scrape at all, it just melted.

It is a good idea to keep a can of deicer and a quality scraper in your vehicle at all times. You never know when a winter storm is going to hit and having the tools in your garage is not going be of much use when you get 6 inches of snow while you are at work. Whenever you are dealing with snow and ice, take caution and be thorough. Don’t just carve out a 6 inch square to see out of, that can end in disaster.

Check out all the chemical products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to deice your car, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

about author

Jefferson Bryant

A life-long gearhead, Jefferson Bryant spends more time in the shop than anywhere else. His career began in the car audio industry as a shop manager, eventually working his way into a position at Rockford Fosgate as a product designer. In 2003, he began writing tech articles for magazines, and has been working as an automotive journalist ever since. His work has been featured in Car Craft, Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, Truckin’, Mopar Muscle, and many more. Jefferson has also written 4 books and produced countless videos. Jefferson operates Red Dirt Rodz, his personal garage studio, where all of his magazine articles and tech videos are produced.

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