Warm Water: De-Ice Hack or Myth?

Quickly defrost your windshield by pouring warm water over it to melt the ice. This trick pops up on a variety of list of defrost tips… but is it really a good idea?

One survey by the AA Populus shows that 13% of drivers say they use hot water to clear ice from car windows and windshield (read more here). The tips prevalence on blogs and lists of car hacks means you’ve probably stumbled upon it before or know someone who has tried it.

The theory behind this trick makes sense. Heating up the windshield with warm water would melt the thin layer of ice. All you’d need to do is turn on the windshield wipers to wash away the remaining water.

But it’s more dangerous than it sounds. A rapid change of temperature, caused by pouring hot water on a frozen surface, can cause the glass to crack. As the glass expands from the heat then quickly contracts again in the cold temperatures, the change can cause a chip or crack in the windshield.

Some people reduce this risk by using only luke warm, not hot, water to thaw the windshield. But even this carries risk.

In extremely cold temperatures, the water could freeze on top of the windshield instead of melting the already existing ice. Water that flows down the windshield can collect and freeze at the base where the wiper blades rest.

If they become frozen to the windshield, the windshield wiper blades can rip and tear. If they do not move when you try to turn them on, the frozen blades can cause damage to the wiper motor.

Instead of risking negative side effects, rely on traditional methods to remove ice from your windshield. Use heat from your car engine, heater, and defroster to warm the windshield. Invest in a quality ice scraper to make removing ice from the windshield faster and easier.

Stay up-to-date with preventative maintenance this winter to keep your car running safe and warm in Walled Lake! Schedule your next appointment with the ASE Certified technicians at Kenny’s Lakes Area Auto Experts: (248) 668-1200

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