Winter is just around the corner. We can already feel it with these cold nights and rainy, grey days. Winter means rain, fog, and an uncomfortable drop in temperature. And in Melbourne, we all know how crazy the weather can be, ranging from sunny and warm one minute to a torrential downpour the next.
As a result, ensuring you have the best visibility is important to ensure you’re safe on the road. Poor visibility can cause a distraction when you need to fiddle with demisters or even attempts to wipe the fog from your screen. To avoid accidents and stay safe this winter, we are going to discuss how to keep your windscreen clear during winter.
1. Avoid Dirt and Grime Settling on Your Glass
Dust and grime tend to absorb moisture, which can be incredibly frustrating when it has settled on your windscreen glass. Dirtier windscreens will fog up sooner, making it harder to drive. As a result, it is important that you keep your windscreen clean, inside and out, all year round. Ensure you use an appropriate windscreen glass cleaner and an appropriate, soft, lint-free cloth so you can remove dust and stubborn dirt.
2. Regularly Defog to Keep Your Windscreen Clear During Winter
There’s a wide variety of things that can fog up a windscreen. From hot drinks to damp shoes or clothes, to even the human breath, these all add to the humidity inside a car. And whenever moist, humid air in your car comes in contact with cold glass, your screen will suffer from the fog. Further, if your car has a demisting option, you should use it frequently. Ensure the vents are aimed at the windscreen and try to regulate the temperature first by turning it to cold and then slowly increase the temperature. This results in a drying out of the windscreen.
3. Use Fresh Air to Keep Your Windscreen Clear During Winter
When using your air conditioner and/or heater in winter, it is important to remember that the same circulated air is more humid. So it is important to not increase the humidity by continuing to circulate this moist, humid air. Instead, open a window to let in some cold, dry air. This will, in turn, lower the dew point, decrease the humidity and help alleviate the mist/fog that appears on the inside of the windscreen.
4. Don’t Wipe It Away
We’ve all been there! You’re driving along and suddenly your windscreen has fogged up. Your natural reaction is to reach out and try to wipe the fog away. But this is one of the worst things you can do. Using a cloth or your sleeve to wipe away the condensation will only make the windscreen fog up faster. Instead, be patient or pull over and wait for the fan and air conditioner to do their job.
5. Keep Your Windscreen Clean
Some places in Australia are colder than others, meaning a layer of ice – or even snow – can develop on your windshield. In these cases, it is best to use an ice scraper to get rid of this ice before you start driving. Never pour boiling or hot water onto the glass. The abrupt change in temperature, known as thermal shock, can crack your windscreen glass, meaning you need to pay for a costly windscreen replacement.
We recommend the following when it comes to cleaning your windscreen,
- Daily Windscreen Cleaning – You should ensure your windscreen is cleaned every day. This means wiping down your windshield with a lint-free, soft autoglass cloth and either water or an approved windscreen cleaner. Daily cleaning not only improves your visibility but also helps you check the windscreen for chips or cracks you might not have noticed when you were driving.
- Cleaning the Interior of the Windscreen – It is important to remember that your windscreen interior is as important as the exterior when it comes to cleaning. You should clean your windscreen at least once a week but unfortunately, it is often neglected. This allows smears and grease to build up into tough stains. This is especially a problem in winter as it can increase the fogginess of your windscreen. Like the exterior of the windscreen, you need to wipe the inside of the windscreen with a soft, lint-free cloth and an appropriate windscreen cleaning solution.
6. Avoid Using Faulty Wipers
Your wipers need to be in the best condition. If the rubber on your windscreen wipers is eroded or flawed, they won’t function well. This means rain and debris won’t be safely wiped off your windscreen, hampering your visibility. Further, eroded or faulty wipers can cause significant scratching and damage to your windscreen in the driver’s field of vision. When the driver’s field of vision is impeded, your car can be deemed unroadworthy. You will also require a full windscreen replacement, as damage in the driver’s field of vision cannot be repaired.
7. Protect Your Windscreen from Frost to Keep Windscreen Clear During Winter
One of the biggest chores none of us look forward to is defrosting. Especially early in the morning, in the freezing weather, when you’re already late for work.
Garage, Car Port and Other Shelter
Of course the most fool proof option is to park your car in a sheltered place. This can be a garage, a car port, a shed, or some other kind of covered storage option. This will keep your car out of the weather and away from the weather elements that allow the ice crystals to land on your car, that will form into frost.
If you don’t have any access to a storage shed or garage, etc, then why not try a car cover. While it might get tedious takin the cover off and putting it back on at night, it performs the same function as the other shelter options. They come in a wide range of materials, suitable for a wide range of weather conditions.
Alternative Windshield Covers
No windscreen covers? No problem! If you don’t have a windscreen cover, other items can work. Car mats can work well. They are easy to find and readily available. They won’t cover the entire windscreen but they will cover a large portion. Carpet remnants will work almost as well. You can also use things like shower curtains and tablecloths.
Park Facing East
When parking, we recommend you always park east as the wind typically blows from the west to east. This will allow protection from the icy wind and let the sun clear your windscreen, enabling it to naturally defrost itself, making it easier for you to get going in the morning. Also, if you are in a windy area like many Melbourne suburbs are, remember to park away from falling hazards.
Covering Side Mirrors
Too many people forget to cover their side mirrors, which are just as important as the windscreen. You need them to study the road around you. If you can’t get proper covers you can cover your mirrors with plastic bags and rubber bands to hold them in place. You can also use clothespins in the place of rubber bands.
There is always the traditional solution – scraping. Just always make sure the edge of your scraper is in good condition. If there are any nicks or uneven places on your scraper it can scratch your windscreen. Get a good quality scraper and take your time – better to be a little late then cause damage to your windscreen.
Use a De-Icer Spray
You can always use – or make – a De-Icing spray. There are couple bottles you can pick up from your local supermarket or auto store. Or you can make your own. But no matter what type of de-icer you use – store bought or DIY – should be stored at room temperature in your house, not in your car. Here are a couple recipes:
Isopropyl Alcohol and Water
Combine 2 parts of 70% isopropyl alcohol with one part water in a spray bottle. This liquid has a freezing point of 5 degrees – rather than the 32 degree of water – so applying this mix to your iced up windscreen will have immediate effect.
Pour water into a spray bottle and add a scoop or two of salt. Salt has a lower freezing point than fresh water it will melt ice on contact. Road ice is even more effective than table salt.
Melt Windscreen Ice from the Inside
Every car contains a defroster. Simply get in your car, turn the temperature on to the warmest setting and select “defrost”. Ensure you choose the defrost setting for both front and back of the car, at full blast. Ensure you are doing this outside, and not inside an enclosed space. Any blockage of the tailpipe could result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
Preventing an Icy Windscreen
The best way to tackle an icy windscreen is to prevent one in the first place. Below are some methods we suggest to prevent an icy windscreen developing.
We suggest, each night, spraying your windscreen with a solution of vinegar. Mix 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water in a spray bottle. Liberally spray your windscreen, side windows, side mirrors, and back windscreen in the mixture. Then wipe them all down with a squeegee or an old rag. This will prevent ice settling on your glass.
Like above, mix 2 parts rubbing alcohol with 1 part water in a spray bottle and liberally spray down your windscreen, mirrors, side windows, and rear windscreen. This, too, will prevent ice settling on your auto glass.
Saltwater has a much lower freezing point than water, so when frost hits it, it can’t settle. So if you have no vinegar or rubbing alcohol, salt will have the same effect. To 2 scoops of salt into 1 part water in a spray bottle will be perfect.
Did you know onions can help protect your windscreen? It might seem strange but rubbing half an onion over your car windows at night will actually stop frost from being able to form on your auto glass. This is due to the oil that comes from the onions.
Don’t Damage Your Glass
It is important to keep our suggestions in mind when you battle with frost in the winter. While it is frustrating to take time in the morning or evening to safely clear off the frost from your windscreen, taking that extra time will help ensure your safety. Don’t just scrape a tiny bit off with your credit card to get your windscreen clear during winter, assuming that’s all you need to see. And never dump a bucket of water on your windscreen! Warm or hot water will cause your windscreen glass to crack due to thermal shock. And even cold water is a bad option as it could freeze on contact, making your situation worse.
7. Get Faulty Windscreens Repaired or Replaced
Faulty windscreens with chips or cracks can also cause issues with the driver’s visibility. Your windscreen plays an important role in your airbag functionality as well as the structural integrity of your car. In winter, adverse weather can further weaken your glass, leading to further damage. As a result, it is important that you get your windscreen repaired or replaced at the first sign of damage. And it’s not just cars, we also work on buses, trucks and excavators as these vehicles are commercial and it is important they are operational.
Winter Windscreen Damage? Contact Us!
Has your windscreen sustained damage due to winter conditions? Emergency Windscreens is a fully mobile service who can help you keep your windscreen clear during winter. If you have a chip or a crack – or you have had a mishap when trying to clear your windscreen – we can come to you, no matter where you are. Home, office, anywhere, we will get you back on the road as soon as possible. We carry a wide range of autoglass and we are able to work on everything from buses and tractors, to cars, to luxury models. We can also replace windscreens if needed. We will assess the damage onsite and let you know whether you need a repair or replacement, and perform it onsite.