Deicing your Vehicle in the Winter


In the winter it is inevitable that you will have to remove ice, snow, and frost from your vehicle. You will want to make sure that you clear the windshield, side windows, rear windshield, and side mirrors. In order to start your vehicle so you can start to warm it up, and warm up the windshield, you will want to make sure you can get in your vehicle. You may need to have a lock de-icer to get in. Lock de-icer is simply a specific concentration of isopropyl alcohol. It’s the same chemical compound found in rubbing alcohol, for example, but at a much stronger concentration. Lock de-icer, is at least 98 percent isopropyl alcohol, while rubbing alcohol is typically between 50 and 70 percent strength. That potent alcoholic liquid works by lowering the freezing point of water. Lock de-icer is designed to act as a fail-safe to open your doors when the small key hole cover flap meant to keep moisture out of locks and prevent them from freezing up doesn’t do the trick.

While getting frozen out of your car in the winter can happen every now and then, scraping ice off your windows is more of a daily occurrence, at least if you park outside. Thankfully there are similar de-icing compounds that you can apply to your car’s glass. Most winter-time windshield washer fluid contains some mixture of methanol and ethylene glycol. Like the isopropyl alcohol in lock de-icer, the methyl alcohol helps to lower the freezing temperature of the water. Keeping a bottle of windshield de-icer in the trunk can help you get on the road more quickly in the morning.

You will also want to make sure your remove snow and ice from the hood or roof of your vehicle. If you are driving, the snow can blow up onto the windshield and cause impaired vision. Also larger chunks of snow can fall off and hit other drivers around you. When you clean off the vehicle completely, you can help improve the chance for a safe driving experience.