Waking up to a brisk morning is no longer an occasion surrounded by dubiety and hankering for days before. It’s no longer a rare scenario. As December rears its frosty head (I can’t believe I’m saying that), winter is finally upon us in Colorado. And with the harsh weather of the Rockies settling upon us for the time being, we at SLP Auto Glass must address one of our most feared times and topics: winter windshield care.
A quick walk down your social media platform of choice will lead to a disheartening plethora of falsities regarding cars and winter. It’s not uncommon to see tips that are both incorrect and dangerous, especially regarding your windshield. So, like the expert glass technicians that we are, we are here to give you every tip possible regarding winter windshield care and preparation.
Are your windshield and windows ready for the falling debris, ice, salt, and frigid temperatures incoming? Let’s see!
1. Don’t Use Boiling Water
We have to begin with a tip that’s both seemingly obvious and overwhelmingly common. No, really. People use boiling water on their frozen windshields. While the colloquial understanding of how awful this tactic is has caught on in recent times, some will still find it to be a clever idea.
Do not use boiling water on your frosted windshield. It’s that simple.
Rapid temperature changes cause your auto glass to expand and contract, which may lead to cracks and other types of damage. Pouring hot water on a frozen windshield will have the same effect yet with an even more severe and sudden temperature change. It will cause your windshield to crack, almost guaranteed. Cold glass and hot water just do not mix.
The last thing you want to have to do on a cold winter day is to take your car in for an unexpected windshield replacement.
2. Only Use Ice Scrapers
We understand that a morning of removing windshield ice during brutally cold temperatures is awful. No one wants to do it, sure. But when the need arises, use tools that are made for the job.
As Denver’s windshield experts, we’ve seen it all. People will use all kinds of objects to remove ice from their auto glass. We’re talking CD cases, knives, and metal spatulas. When someone is in a rush, they will grab whatever object seems both sharp and malleable. It’s a bad move.
While these items may get the job done, they will also scratch or chip or windshield. Why use these objects when plastic ice scrapers that are designed to remove ice safely are so affordable? Seriously, guys. Plastic ice scrapers cost a few bucks and are available in just about any grocery store in Colorado. You can even spray some Rain-X de-icer spray on your windshield before you start scraping (we will get to that later).
Furthermore, make sure to start your car and run the defrost on hot for a few minutes before starting scraping. It makes the process much, much easier.
The Defrost Myth
Anecdote: I saw a weird myth flying around the internet the other day. People were stating that you should gradually turn your defrost hotter and hotter while defrosting the windshield. Turning the defrost to full blast will cause the windshield to crack.
As we stated early, rapid changes in temperature are awful for windshields. This is entirely true. If your frozen windshield were to be attacked by hot air, it would expand and potentially crack. So, in theory, the concept of not turning your heat all the way up makes sense.
Here’s the thing: no car will get warm enough to crack your windshield. Even the newest of cars will take some time to heat up to full temperature. Enough time to slowly adjust the windshield temperature, avoiding damage.
In fact, it might even be safer to put your defrost on full blast as soon as you get in your car than wait until the car is fully warm. That way, the windshield can feel the defrost air slowly get warmer instead of hitting it with the fully-warm air once it’s heated.
Don’t quote us on that, though. That’s just a theory. A car theory.
3. Don’t Overlook Wiper Fluid
When precipitation is in the forecast, it can be easy to overlook windshield fluid levels. Why would you need fluid to combat fluid on your windshield? It doesn’t make sense!
Here’s the thing: whether icy rain or snow, the winter season brings a ton of nasty stuff that can get caked on your windshield. Dirt from storms, salt from trucks, and polluted snow can all make your windshield an absolute mess. Don’t get caught with a windshield you can’t see through. Make sure that your wiper fluid is topped off and ready to go, especially during or after a snowstorm.
Furthermore, you can get de-icer windshield fluid that will make all winter windshield issues a bit easier to manage. Even if you don’t decide to go that route, you should still make sure that your fluid is safe for below-freezing temperatures. You don’t want to freeze your system.
4. Get a Frost Cover
Hate having to defrost and scrape your windshields every morning? We totally get it. Standing outside with a scraper in hand can be an awful way to start the day, especially if you work during those brutal January mornings. Luckily, our fascination with technology is to make our lives easier and more efficient. Therefore, something has already been invented to combat that issue.
If you don’t have a garage to store your vehicle in, get yourself a nifty and useful winter windshield cover.
These covers, often made of polyester or PVC, lay over your windshield and wipers, covering the entire pane from both frost and snow. All you have to do is take it off, brush (or shake) it off, store it, and go. It completely eliminates the need for scraping and fidgeting.
Unfortunately, it isn’t a perfect contraption. If there is a significant amount of snow, you will still need to scrape enough off of the cover to move it, but it still makes the process easier.
Bonus: it can totally double as a sun protector during the harsh summer months, saving your windshield from the expanding rays of ridiculous heat. Win-win.
5. Get Ongoing Issues Fixed, Please
Preparation is the best prevention, or whatever. Falling ice, flying snow, and fluctuating Denver temperatures can make already existing auto glass damage worse, causing for more expensive repairs.
Already notice a small chip or crack in your windshield? All of the auto glass dangers of the winter can make these marks even worse. How to protect your auto glass during the chilly months starts with having healthy glass.
Before heading out on a snowy day, one of the best things you can do for your vehicle — and your safety — is to have damaged auto glass repaired or replaced. Doing so can help ensure the structural integrity of your windscreen and body of your vehicle. Also, having a clear windshield allows for a better line of site, so you can see what’s in front of you while driving down winding dirt roads to get to your camping spot.
If your auto glass is damaged, contact us to schedule a windshield replacement in Denver today! Be sure to ask about our mobile windshield replacement and repair services that can save you time and money. Happy holidays!