Winter… the season that doesn’t seem to end
From freezing temperatures that strain your battery to snow and ice that can stop your car in its tracks, winter is hard on your vehicle. While winter weather has its icy grip on many parts of the country, fight back with these tips that can help make winter a little more bearable for you and your car.
Get a jump start
Get a head start on clearing off your windshield in the morning by parking your vehicle facing the east. This takes advantage of the rising sun to help melt snow and ice from your windshield and windows.
Clear side mirrors
If you have to park your vehicle outside, put plastic bags over your side mirrors to prevent ice from building up overnight. Be sure to secure the bags with rubber bands so they don’t fall off.
Substitute ice scraper
If you find yourself without an ice scraper, a credit card or gift card will work on a light coating of frost or ice.
Break out the broom
To get to those hard-to-reach spots when cleaning off your car, use a broom to remove snow from the car roof. A broom also comes in handy for clearing snow from the windshield – especially on larger vehicles.
Make sure your headlights are shining as brightly as possible during snowstorms. Clean any dirt off your headlight lenses with a soft cloth and then rub two coats of car wax on each lens. After each coat, let the wax dry and buff it out. Not only will your lenses be clean but any slush that hits your headlights is less likely to freeze thanks to the slick surface.
Toothpaste is another option for cleaning your headlight lenses. Rub traditional toothpaste (not gel) on each lens with a soft rag and rinse with water. Repeat until lenses are clear.
Get the fog out
Prevent foggy windows by putting a sock full of kitty litter in your car. The kitty litter pulls the moisture out of the air and leaves you with clear windows.
You can also rub shaving cream on the inside of your windshield and windows and then wipe it off. The layer that is left behind helps keep the fog from forming since shaving cream has many of the same ingredients that commercial defoggers have.
If your windshield does fog up, use a chalkboard eraser to eliminate the fog without smudging the windshield.
Avoid getting locked out
To keep the cold from wreaking havoc on your locks and doors, try these tricks:
Unfreeze your locks by putting hand sanitizer on the key before inserting it into the lock. Many hand sanitizers contain alcohol which melts ice.
You can also heat the key with a lighter or match. The heat will help melt the ice in the lock.
Another option is to place a drinking straw directly on the lock and blow. Your breath’s heat will melt the ice and you’ll be in the driver’s seat in no time.
To keep your doors from sticking when cold temperatures hit, put cooking spray on the rubber seals. Water melts during the day and then freezes at night. The cooking spray helps keep the melting water from settling in the cracks of your doors.
Deicing your windshield
If you don’t have the luxury of parking in a garage, you’re used to the daily ritual of scraping your windshield before you can leave the driveway. Here are some insider tips that can make this chore a little easier.
Cover your windshield with a tarp or sheet. Fasten it inside the car by shutting it inside the door. This is perfect for days of frost or light snow and ice. You just take off the tarp in the morning and you are good to go! (If the forecast calls for several inches of snow, this isn’t the best choice because the snow will make the tarp too heavy to remove.)
While commercial deicing sprays are available, you can make your own windshield deicer spray. Mix one part water to two parts of rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on your windshield and watch the ice melt. You can also use water, rubbing alcohol and a few drops of dish liquid.
To prevent ice buildup, many advocate spraying a mixture of three parts vinegar and one part water before retiring for the night. However, experts caution against this DIY solution because of the corrosive nature of vinegar.
|Caution – Never use hot water to deice your windshield. It could crack your windshield.|
Although it may seem like it, winter won’t last forever. Before you know it, spring will be here and you’ll be planning a summer full of road trips!
The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein.