The average date for the first snowfall in Northern Colorado is October 18. Often, after it snows once in Fort Collins, the cold is here to stay. This means now is the perfect time to review tips for clearing snow off your car.
Best Methods of Clearing Snow off Your Car
Even if you love winter, you probably don’t love scraping snow and ice from the windshield. Fortunately, these tips make the job easier:
- Start the engine and run the front and rear defrost: This helps to melt the ice and snow from underneath, making your job easier. Just remember to play it safe—check that the tailpipe is unobstructed before you start the engine to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide buildup in the cab.
- Sweep off loose snow with a snow brush: You need to remove the snow before you can reach any ice clinging to the glass.
- Chip away at the ice with an ice scraper: Keep one in your car at all times. If you resort to using a metal spatula or other makeshift objects not designed for use on auto glass, you could scratch the windshield.
- Use deicing spray: If you find a thick sheet of ice under the snow, you could be left to chip at it for hours. Speed up the process with deicing spray. You can purchase a commercial product or make your own by mixing one part water and two parts isopropyl or rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. Shake the solution, spray it on your windshield, and viola—the ice melts in seconds. Rubbing alcohol has a freezing point of -128 degrees F, so you can keep it in your car, and it will never freeze.
- Melt a frozen lock with your breath: Can’t get your key in the door? Aim your warm breath at the lock by blowing through a straw to melt the ice.
Things to Remember When Clearing Snow off Your Car
Make the most of your snow-clearing efforts with these pro tips:
- Give yourself extra time: If it normally takes you 15 minutes to drive to work, head to the car well before you need to leave. Scraping always takes longer than you think. Plus, you’ll need to drive slower on snow-packed roads.
- Don’t tug on frozen windshield wipers: This could destroy the rubber. Instead, focus on scraping your windshield while the defroster does its job. If the wipers are still stuck by the time you clear the windshield, spray the rubber with your deicing spray.
- Remember to brush snow off the hood, trunk, and roof: Clearing the windshield and windows isn’t enough. Once you start driving, the snow on the hood, trunk, and roof could shift and obstruct your view. Don’t cut corners when clearing snow off your car—remove the white stuff from every surface before you deem the job complete.
- Don’t pour water on the windshield: Dousing your car with hot water could cause the glass to crack from the extreme temperature change. Instead, stick to a quick squirt of deicing spray.
Tips to Prevent a Frozen, Snow-Covered Car
The best way to protect your car during a snowstorm is to park in the garage or under a carport. If you don’t have one available to you, use these other methods to avoid snow and ice buildup on your car:
- Pop the windshield wipers: Is snow in the forecast? Pop the wipers to keep them from freezing to the windshield.
- Place plastic bags over the side mirrors: Secure them in place with twist ties or rubber bands.
- Spray cooking oil on the door seals: This helps prevent them from sealing shut in freezing weather.
- Spray ice prevention on the windshield: You can use your water-and-rubbing-alcohol spray as an ice preventer as well as a deicer. Three parts vinegar to one part water also works, as does saltwater.
- Cover the windshield and windows: Consider investing in a windshield cover if you regularly park your car outside overnight. Even an old tablecloth or shower curtain helps prevent snow, ice, and frost from clinging to the windshield. Then, close your windows on a towel to help avoid ice buildup here as well.
- Park the car facing east: If all else fails, orient your car to face east so the rising sun starts melting the ice as soon as possible.
Stay Safe out There!
Winter brings treacherous driving conditions to Northern Colorado. Make sure you’re prepared by maintaining your car regularly throughout the season. Scott’s Fort Collins Auto offers affordable vehicle maintenance and repair services ranging from a simple oil change and wheel alignment to a complete engine rebuild and replacement. We’ll take good care of your car no matter what the weather is doing!
For questions about our services, or to schedule an appointment, please contact Scott’s Fort Collins Auto at (970) 682-4202.