In the winter months, morning routines can get a little more hectic when you have to factor in clearing the ice off your car. It’s important to remove the snow and to properly defrost the windshields, but the peskiest part is the wiper blades. How do you keep them from icing up? Here are a few tips and tricks to keep your wiper blades from icing up.
How to Prevent Wiper Blades from Icing
Your wiper blades are one of the most important safety features of your car. An icy wiper won’t remove water, snow or other vision impairing hazards from your windshield as intended. Frozen wipers can even be damaged if you try to use them. That’s why you should keep your wipers in good condition and make sure you’re safe whenever you drive in the winter.
If you take a look at any parking lot when it snows, you’ll notice that many cars have their windshield wipers raised up. Lifting them up prevents freezing water from accumulating between the blades and glass.
This isn’t just helpful when it’s snowing- the freeze-thaw cycle in freezing temperatures can cause water to accumulate on surfaces. In the morning, you’ll notice this as frost on your windshield.
Lift up your wipers at night to prevent them from sticking to your windshield in the morning. This will also keep them out of the way when you’re brushing off your windshield. Just remember to put them down gently when it’s time to drive.
Gently Break the Ice
Sometimes, you forget to lift up your wipers the night before. If you find that your wipers are frozen, you can gently knead the ice off with your fingers. Just be sure to wear some warm gloves when you do this.
If the ice is thick enough that you can’t easily break it off with your fingers, use an ice scraper to gently chip it away. Start in the middle and work your way to the edge of each blade. Remember to be gentle so you don’t nick the blades. Once the ice is broken, you can try using your hands again to snap off the ice.
Never pour water on a windshield to defrost it or the wipers. This is extremely dangerous. The sudden change in temperature will cause the glass to crack or shatter. Water of any temperature will cause damage to the glass.
Of course, the best way to prevent your wiper blades from icing up is to park in a sheltered area, like a garage. If you don’t have a garage or any other sheltered parking options, you can use a windshield cover.
These waterproof covers prevent frost and snow from accumulating on your windshield. It will also prevent ice buildup between your wipers and your blades. Look for one that can cover your entire windshield for best results.
Wiper blades are a wear item. Over time and use, they lose their effectiveness. Wiper blades that are worn are more likely to ice up, and can even be dangerous to drive with when it’s snowing. Use the start of winter as an opportunity to replace them with new wipers and winterize your car.
Most wipers use a rubber blade that becomes stiffer in the cold. This reduces the rubber’s ability to curve against your windshield and establish good contact. Using them on ice and snow also quickly wears them out. You may notice your wipers are less effective in the cold. They may leave streaks or squeak when you use them. Water streaks, combined with the intense wind chill as you’re driving, can freeze up and block your vision.
You can buy winter wipers that are designed to work better in the cold. These are typically more expensive, but have blades made of silicone that don’t lose effectiveness. Silicone doesn’t stiffen in the cold as much as rubber does, so the wipers maintain better contact with your windshield.
Winter Wiper Fluids
Use a winter wiper fluid with de-icing properties. Top up your wiper fluid reservoir before the cold season starts. This de-icing wiper fluid will also help keep ice off your windshield and wipers while you drive in winter weather.
Keep an extra bottle of wiper fluid in your car. You can really go through a lot of fluid if you get caught driving in the snow.
What to Do if Your Wipers are Icing Up While Driving
If it’s snowing, don’t drive. But if you have to, or if you get caught in the snow while you’re already out, preparation is the best way to prevent your wipers from icing up while driving. Using silicone wipers with a de-icing washer fluid can help ice from forming on your windshield. Keep your windshield heater on while you drive.
If your windshield and wipers are still freezing up, you should pull into a parking lot and seek shelter. Wait for conditions to improve, as driving on the ice with frozen wiper blades is extremely dangerous for you and everyone else on the road.
By taking proactive measures, you can help keep yourself safe and save yourself some time during those cold winter mornings. And if you’re ready to save on car insurance, Plymouth Rock can help you with that, too!