How To Thaw Frozen Car Doors And Locks
Many of the best ways to deal with cars frozen in ice rely on internal technologies, but this is impossible if you can’t even get in because the car doors are frozen shut. A simple gadget solves this problem, though you can most likely find some lock de-icer at a nearby supply or department store, and it is just as easy. If you find yourself unprepared, you can create your own de-icer solution by mixing some water with rubbing alcohol. Using it is a simple process of spraying the liquid into the keyhole and waiting for the ice to melt and pour out. Gently, but firmly, stick your key inside to check for any residual obstruction and repeat the process if you cannot get it in all the way. For more on this, read our post about frozen car doors, here.
So How Do I Get This Ice Off My Car
I reached out to several experts, like mechanics and car detailers to find out the right way to get the snow off of the body of a car.
The first thing you should do is turn your car on and gradually heat the car. Instead of using a brush with bristles, invest in one that’s made out of foam. You could also cover your bristles with a microfibre cloth, starting with the roof of your car.
Only use the ice scraper on your windows. By the time you get to the windshield, the car should be warm enough to have allowed for some melting.
You can use windshield wipers with a cloth or a de-icing spray to remove stubborn ice.
Before a storm, consider using a cover or tarp on your car — but keep in mind, blustery winds and mixed precipitation could lead to friction and scratches as well.
But the experts I talked to said the best method to avoid ice and snow build up is the most obvious one: Park your car in a garage whenever possible.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in February 2020
Clear Snow From The Windows
Wipe snow from your cars rear and side windows first. Then, remove snow from your windshield. By waiting to remove snow from your windshield, you can give your defroster as much time as possible to melt any ice that has built up. Dont forget to remove snow from your rear-view mirrors, headlights, taillights, and turn signals, too.
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Avoid Using Hot Or Boiling Water
You might think if something is frozen, the best thing to do is to put some hot water on it to help it melt faster, but this is not the case when you are trying to clean snow and ice off of your car. If you put hot water on the windshield, the sudden temperature change can crack or shatter the windshield.
You have to allow your windshield to gradually warm up. Start the car before you start cleaning and let the defroster do the work, check the tailpipe for any snow buildup.
Hacks To Deal With Snow And Ice On Your Car
Even people who love winter do not enjoy one of the seasons most unpopular jobs: clearing snow and ice off their cars.
The good news is that the job can be made easier by following a few simple tips. They include:
- Turning on your front and rear defrosters as soon as you start clearing. If you have a push start, now is the time to take advantage of it.
- Give yourself more time than you think. This can be a tough job, and you may need a break or two after scraping away at ice for a long stretch of time.
- Dont pull on frozen windshield wipers! This could totally ruin them. Instead, use an ice scraper to chip away at the ice and give the car defroster time to do its job.
- Avoid hot water. Pouring hot water on ice-cold glass can cause the glass to break.
- Use a proper snow brush. Shovels and other brushes not marketed for safe use on cars can leave behind scratches.
- Start from the top. Clear snow from the the roof and work your way downclearing the top part of the car later could undo the work you did on the bottom half of the car. And you cant drive around with a roof full of snow anyhow.
- Consider using a deicing spray. Commercial-grade sprays can make the job faster and easier.
- Blow through a straw to let your breath melt a frozen lock. Another option is to apply a bit of hand sanitizer to your key and the door lock.
Of course, the best way to deal with winter is to park your car in a garage or carport. If thats not possible, try taking these steps beforehand.
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Invest In A Cover For The Windshield
The next best thing to do when a garage isnt available is to invest in a cover for the windshield. The windshield is often the hardest place to clean and putting a snow blanket or cover on the windshield before snowfall can drastically reduce the time needed to clean the car.
You simply need to pull the cover to remove the snow, and you dont have to deal with the ice on the windshield.
It’s A Hassle But So Is Getting Your Windshield Smashed By Flying Chunks Of Ice
There you are, driving down the interstate, cursing over your morning coffee at the guy in front of you. He’s just motoring along as though all is well in the world. He has no concern for the chunks of snow and ice that are flying off his car and right into your windshield. You’re furious enough at him not to even notice the fact that you’re doing the same thing to the person behind you.
We’ve all been guilty of leaving snow on our cars. Maybe the roof sits a little too high, maybe you’re afraid to chip the paint, or maybe the morning happened so fast that you could only focus on a few key spots. I’m not here to cast judgment. As an admitted offender in this area, I want to take a few minutes to go over cleaning your car off the right way.
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Use A Foam Brush To Avoid Scratches
Weve all had a thick, bristly snow brush at one point or another. But its been widely acknowledged that when used on painted sections of your car, they can leave light scratches that youll see in the sun.
If youre one of those people who uses a shovel to clear snow off your car dont. That leads to scratches that can only be fixed in a body shop.
Since we love our cars, we need to use the right tools. Thats why our detailers recommend foam brushes. Theyre great for snow AND gentle on your vehicle.
Make sure you get all the snow and ice off your car roof by looking into getting a telescoping brush. This helps with tall vehicles or shorter drivers.
Tip: If you dont have a foam brush, you can make do by wrapping it in a microfibre cloth.
We Know It’s Cold Here’s How To Do The Job Quickly
Nothings worse than having to wake up early on a snow day to clear the buildup off your car. But if youve got to do it, you might as well do it right and do it fast. Heres how. You should also know the things you should never, ever keep in your car in the winter.
Step 1: If you park your car in the driveway, prepare for the storm before it starts by backing out as close to the street as possible . That way, youll have less driveway to shovel out in order to get on the road.
Step 2: Shovel the wheels out before moving on to the rest of the driveway. While youre focusing on the lower half of the car, check that your tailpipe is clear of snow. A blockage could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to fill the interior once the car is turned on.
Step 3: Grab a foam brush or non-abrasive snow broom and start removing snow from the car gently. Common damage from improper snow removal are scratches in the paint, Bryan Burgess, owner of a detailing shop, told cars.com. These could be light or very deep depending on the situation. A nylon brush for example over the paint may leave light scratches that will be visible once the car is clean on a sunny day. Remove the snow with a shovelIve seen it doneand youre at risk for a very deep scratch that is either beyond a simple repair or would require a repaint. Also, learn our handy trick for defrosting your windshield in less than five minutes.
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Tips To Limit Snow Buildup On Your Car
Whenever possible, park your car in a garage or under an overhang, particularly in winter. Parking in a garage or under an overhang prevents or limits snow accumulation on your car.
You can also place a snow blanket on your cars roof, windshield, and hood during winter. A snow blanket wont stop snow from accumulating on your car however, you can instantly pull the blanket to remove snow from your vehicle.
Its important to remove all snow from your car before you drive. Even a small amount of snow can impact your cars performance and contribute to a collision. Yet, if you work diligently to remove snow from your car, you are well-equipped to maintain clear visibility on the road.
If you are involved in a winter collision that results in damage to your cars bumper, fender, or other exterior components, try not to stress. Fix Auto can help you fix or replace any exterior components that were damaged during the collision. To learn more about our collision repair services or to request an appointment, please contact us online or call us today at 800.INFO.FIX.
Hacks To Remove With Snow And Ice From Your Car
· Updated 02/08/2022
Although we all would like to park our cars in the garage, safe from all the snow and ice during the winter, it may not always be an option for many car owners. Especially for car owners who live in areas with heavy snow. When the snowstorm hits, it means that you need to clean the ice and snow off of your car before you can use it.
You dont want snow flying off of your car while you are driving, since it can obstruct the vision of the other drivers, which is really dangerous . Clean your car thoroughly before driving on the road again. It is a tedious task, but here are some tips that can make your life a little easier during the winter.
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How To Remove Snow From Your Car Quickly
Step 1: If you park your car in the driveway, prepare for the storm before it starts by backing out as close to the street as possible . That way, you’ll have less driveway to shovel out in order to get on the road.
Step 2: Shovel the wheels out before moving on to the rest of the driveway. While you’re focusing on the lower half of the car, check that your tailpipe is clear of snow. A blockage could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to fill the interior once the car is turned on.
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Step 3: Grab a foam brush or non-abrasive snow broom and start removing snow from the car gently. “Common damage from improper snow removal are scratches in the paint,” Bryan Burgess, owner of a detailing shop, told cars.com. “These could be light or very deep depending on the situation. A nylon brush for example over the paint may leave light scratches that will be visible once the car is clean on a sunny day. Remove the snow with a shovelI’ve seen it doneand you’re at risk for a very deep scratch that is either beyond a simple repair or would require a repaint.”
Step 4: Start from the roof of the car and work your way down to the windows, hood, trunk, rear and front lights. Pull the snow off the car, don’t push it. And keep your swipes in a straight line. That way, if an accidental scratch does occur, it will be less apparent.
Why Remove Snow From Your Car
The first thing that should immediately spring to mind is road safety. Being able to see all around your vehicle is crucial. Just pulling out of a parking spot can quickly turn into a nightmare if you dont take time to remove the snow and ice that has accumulated on all your vehicles windows. Rearview cameras, which became mandatory in Canada a few years ago, are wonderful, but they are not infallible.
You also have to think about everyone else on the road. Unfortunately, igloo on wheels sightings are still far too common. These snow-covered vehicles often kick up flurries and clumps of snow that can be dangerous to other road users, especially on highways. Sometimes youll even see entire sheets of ice fly off offending vehicles and shatter windshields of vehicles behind them. Law enforcement officers have the authority to ticket drivers who fail to properly clear off their vehicles. So be courteous and safe by adapting your driving and behaviour to winter conditions.
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Most Useful Winter Features For Heating Up Your Car
Thanks to advancements in automotive gadgetry, there are various tools at your disposal to help heat up your car and make dealing with cold weather more comfortable, whether you drive a smart sedan or a tough SUV. These include:
- Heated side mirrors
- Heated windscreen, wipers, and washer nozzles
- Remote engine start and automatic climate control
- Heated steering wheel, and front and rear seats
- Neck warmer
How To Remove Snow And Ice From Your Car Without Damaging Its Paint
You wouldnt shave your face with a sling blade, or remove your makeup with sandpaper.
So what in the winter wonderland would possess you to remove snow from your car with a shovel?
Weve seen exorbitantly priced paintjobs running as much as $15,000 but even if youve long since soured on your Wagon Queen Family Trucksters metallic pea paint, no car is going to improve its appearance with dents, dings or telltale brushstrokes permanently etched into its profile.
Here are some tips to help you avoid shaming your car with a snow-clearing scarlet letter
- Get the right tool for the job. Shovels, household brooms and nylon-bristled brushes will damage your paint. Instead, order a good foam brush with a nonabrasive, freeze-resistant polyethylene head covering a recessed hard-plastic scraper, along with a telescoping handle.
- Use the brush to pull, not push, the snow off your car.
- No foam brush handy? Take a hands-on approach. Pull on some leather gloves and push the snow off manually. Your reach will be more limited, but at least you wont damage your paint.
- For a frosted-over windshield and windows, consider using a brass-blade scraper. Its a treacherous-looking tool, but your cars glass is plenty hard to withstand the scraping unscathed. De-icer sprays can also help.
- Resist the urge to remove every last bit of snow, and instead let your car warm up so the heat from your defroster and engine take care of the nooks and crannies.
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Put A Plastic Bag Over The Side Mirrors
Side mirrors can have snow and ice buildup on them as well, but you do not want to use a scraper because it can damage the mirrors.
If you know it is going to snow ahead of time, try using this plastic bag hack. Grab a couple of bags to cover the mirrors and add a rubber band on each side to secure the bags. This way, the snow will not accumulate on the mirrors, saving you some time to clean.
What Type Of Snow Brush Should You Get
The snow brush is a must for anyone north of the 49th parallel. Small snow brushes sold at service stations will do in a pinch, but they wont last long. Youre better off investing in a solid, good-quality snow brush thats long enough to clear your whole vehicle. A big SUV calls for a telescopic snow brush, whereas a standard brush is fine for a compact sedan. Sylvain Légaré, a CAA-Quebec automotive expert and research analyst, says its really the only tool you need. Hot water, antifreeze, alcohol, or even so-called miracle sprays cant compete with a proper de-icing by hand.
The best way to clear snow is to start with the roof and do the sides last. Scrapers help clear window ice faster. But, never use them on the body of your car. Also, contrary to popular belief, its best not to raise windshield wipers because this can make them less effective after a while.
For ice buildup, its advisable to first start the vehicle to warm up the cabin and turn on the defrosters for a few minutes. Then gently tap the ice on the windows to clear it more easily.
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