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How to defrost car windows easily

Helpful tips from Don's Pro Tech Automotive

First, how to prevent frost on car windows

We've all experienced it when you're already running late and you rush outside to find your vehicle's windows completely encased in ice and frost. While you may think your plans are frozen solid, don't panic. Here are some suggestions to effectively defrost your car windows and get you on your way!

The best option to prevent a frosted or iced-over windshield before it starts is to park your vehicle in a garage. Obviously, this isn't an option for everyone, so it's a good idea to invest in supplies to help you get a plan together before the cold weather starts.

Pretreat your vehicle windows and windshield with a treatment like Prestone® Ice Fighter Treatment Ice & Frost Shield to help prevent heavy ice and frost buildup. This pretreatment uses hydrophobic compounds to create an invisible barrier between your windows and the cold winter air so that mild frost and ice cannot build up on them. When you park your vehicle in the evening, consider covering the windshield with a towel or tarp. You can use bungee cords or magnets to hold the tarp in place, which can help prevent moisture and eventually ice from collecting.

Pause before you thaw

In the mad rush to get their vehicles defrosted and get to work on time or make a flight, many panicked drivers have filled a bucket with hot water, tossed it over their windshield and immediately regretted it. Cold glass that is suddenly exposed to hot water will expand very quickly. In very cold climates, the windshield glass will quickly contract again. This radical temperature fluctuation puts stress on the glass and can cause chipping, cracking and may require a costly windshield replacement. Likewise, you should never dump hot water on icy doors and door handles. Modern vehicles contain a network of sensitive electronics and exposing these to hot water can mean a very pricey repair bill.

You should also avoid attacking your frosted windows with anything besides a durable windshield scraper, especially anything metal. While it might help you take out some pent-up frustration, it can lead to cracking and may damage the seals on the outer edge of your windshield and windows, causing leaks.

Best way to defrost car windows

The best way to defrost your windows and windshield is easy. Remember that warm, dry air can hold more moisture than cold, moist air, so defrosting windows is all about dry air. Follow these three steps to getting back on the road with frost-free windows and avoid spending a fortune in repair costs this winter:

1. Start your vehicle and turn the heat on High. The air won't be warm at first, but as it warms, the circulating air will help collect moist air in the vehicle cabin.

2. Turn on A/C and turn off the air recirculation. It may seem crazy, but using the coils in your vehicle's A/C and pulling in cold, dry winter air from the outside results in dryer air in your cabin.

3. Crack your windows. This helps get even more cold dry air circulating.

Depending on the climate and your vehicle, using these three simple steps should help your windows defrost in 5–10 minutes. Resist the urge to turn on your windshield wipers until your windshield is defrosted. Using your wipers when frost is still on your windshield puts strain on the wiper arms and motor plus dulls the blades.

Most importantly, remain patient and don't drive with partially defrosted windows! Limited visibility means unsafe driving, so the wait is worth it. Sure, you might still run late, but at least you're not risking an accident or a steep repair bill.

You can also keep a can of windshield spray de-icer handy to help get your windows clear faster.

Among Don's Pro Technology's management and employees are two Master Certified ASE Technicians. Don's Pro Technology also has the most cutting edge diagnostics and service equipment for all vehicle makes and models. You can trust any of our mechanics/technicians for not only routine maintenance and repairs but more complicated as well. Feel free to chat with one of our knowledgeable service advisors or technicians with any concerns you may have. Don's Pro Technology is located at 230 E. Tehachapi Blvd., in Tehachapi and can be reached at (661) 822-1600.