The Dos and Don’ts of Defrosting

10 Jan The Dos and Don’ts of Defrosting

Winter is in full force in Missouri and temperatures in the teens have drivers setting their alarms earlier to allow time to defrost their cars. No one likes taking the time to scrape the windshield, but driving without properly defrosting your car can be dangerous and can also cause damage to your engine.

Luckily, defrosting doesn’t have to take long! Tiger Towing suggests following these dos and don’ts to get on the road quickly and safely even on the coldest days.

DON’T: Hit the road in a cold, frosty car.

It might be tempting to clear a space on the windshield, hop in and let the car heat up as you drive, but that can actually be hard on your engine. While it’s true that newer cars with modern technology don’t need as much time to warm up, when a car sits in the cold overnight, its oil settles and becomes more viscous. If you drive without letting the oil warm up and begin flowing smoothly, your engine will be running without proper lubrication, which can cause damage. To warm it up safely, Tiger Towing recommends idling for just a few minutes and then driving at low to moderate speeds without hard acceleration until the engine temperature normalizes.

DO: Plan a little extra time to allow your car to completely defrost before driving.

Mornings can be rushed, especially if you’re heading to work, but it’s never a good idea to drive with your visibility obscured by snow, ice or frost. The Missouri Department of Revenue recommends that drivers clear snow and ice from their windows, headlights and taillights before driving, and if a police officer observes you driving without the proper visibility to be safe, you could be pulled over. Plus, a warm car will probably make your commute much more pleasant than driving a freezer on wheels.

DON’T: Use hot water to thaw snow and ice.

Many people think hot water is a quick solution to melting off ice and snow, rather than waiting on a defroster. However, hot or even warm water can cause cold glass to crack or shatter due to the sudden change in temperature. Instead, invest in a de-icing solution that can be applied to door handles, locking mechanisms and windows without damaging them. You can find inexpensive de-icing fluid at most large retailers and auto supply stores, or you can make a DIY version using a mix of isopropyl alcohol and water in a spray bottle.

DO: Use the proper techniques and tools to clear your windows.

Keep a pair of gloves and an ice scraper handy in your car so you’re prepared any time bad weather strikes. Start your car and turn its heater to the warmest setting, but keep the fan around half power until the air becomes warm. Then, you can safely turn on the front and rear defrosters. When the snow or ice starts to thaw and separate, use your scraper to gently loosen and remove it without scratching the glass. Don’t forget your mirrors and rear windows for full visibility.

Even with careful preparation and precautions, sometimes you can’t prevent car troubles in the cold. That’s why Tiger Towing is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and our emergency roadside assistance is covered by most major insurance policies.  If your car won’t start or you need lockout or flat tire assistance, trust us to arrive at your location quickly and get you back on the road.

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