Winter Storm 2022: What not to do when digging out your car

Every winter, people in snowy climates have to dig out their cars. Here’s what not to do when trying to remove snow from your vehicle.

Winter storms hit many parts from the United Statesand AAA It is estimated that nearly 102 million Americans plan to travel to their vacation destinations between December 23 and January 2.

Anyone who has lived in snowy conditions knows that snow can pile up on and around cars parked outside, trapping vehicles and creating a safety hazard if not properly cleared before driving.

Tips have been circulating online for years claiming there are certain “hacks” to de-icing your windshield – such as: with vinegar or hot water. A VERIFY viewer also texted us asking if we should raise the wipers so they don’t freeze.

While some people have tricks at home that they use to clear snow or ice in winter, VERIFY has fact-checked that you shouldn’t do these three things:



1. Do not use hot water or homemade solutions to remove snow or ice from your car

Pour hot water over snow or ice seems like an efficient way to melt it away, but the sudden change in temperature could crack your windshield glass, Rochester Mazda dealership says on his website.

stable vehicle contractsa UK-based car company, says windscreens sometimes have small, unnoticeable cracks and hot water over them could do more damage in the long run.

That’s because some water can get stuck in the cracks, and should the windshield freeze again, it could expand, making the small cracks bigger and more noticeable, according to the Stable Vehicle Contracts website.

Some people have recommended using a homemade solution, like mixing water with ammonia or Vinegarto remove ice or snow, but an AAA spokesman says it’s not a good idea. AAA says you shouldn’t use this type of solution for scale prevention, either.

Using a chemical solution that isn’t made for snow removal could damage your paintwork, and the chemicals could cause micropitting, which are small craters, in the windshield. These small craters can crack your windshield or distort the light coming through your windshield.

Also, don’t use road salt on your car to melt the snow or ice faster. Corresponding Progressive insuranceit can accelerate the oxidation process that causes rust.

  • A commercially available de-icing spray or liquid melt ice
  • After vacating your car, make sure you have windshield wiper deicer fluid in the tank to use as soon as you hit the road.

2. Don’t use the wrong tools

Just as you shouldn’t use hot water or home improvement solutions to clean your car, you shouldn’t use tools that aren’t specifically made for snow removal either.

State Farm Insurance says Never use objects such as a screwdriver or metal wrench or other sharp objects to remove ice. These can scratch or break the glass.

1A Auto, an auto repair company, says Never use a shovel to clear snow, as most snow shovels, both metal and plastic, have a metal blade that will scratch the paintwork. T1A Auto also says not to use a broom as the bristles are stiffer than a regular snow brush and can also damage paintwork.

Using gloves isn’t a good idea either, says 1A Auto, since anything with hard or metallic features could scratch the paintwork.

  • A proper snow brush or ice scraper for removing snow and ice
  • A soft foam broom is another alternative to a snow brush
  • Snow blankets can be placed over your windshield before it snows and easily removed
  • A leaf blower can be used remotely to blow some of the snow off or around your vehicle

3. Do not use wipers to remove snow or ice

Do not use your windshield wipers to remove ice, snow, or frost from your windshield before cleaning your windshield with other tools such as ice scrapers or snow brushes. ANCO Wipers, a blade manufacturer, advises.

Using windshield wipers to clean the windshield when there is snow or ice can crack the wiper blades. So please make sure your windshield is clean before use.

It is safe to use wipers with the appropriate fluids while driving. When your car is parked, you can pull your wiper blades away from the windshield if the vehicle is uncovered. This prevents the slats on the windshield from icing up.

But the manufacturer warned: “The tip is not undisputed.”

“There are many who support this, while others argue against the practice, citing wear on the springs in the wiper arm. Decide for yourself which camp you’re in — blades up or blades down,” ANCO says.

For example, Batteries Plus, a retail chain, says Raising and lowering them repeatedly is not a good idea as this will stretch the spring used to stick to the windshield.

They also say that you shouldn’t break the blades to remove ice or snow. If the spring is tight enough, it can cause the wiper to damage your windshield glass.

What you can do to protect your wipers:

  • Turn on the defrosters while cleaning your windshield so the area around your fins heats up first
  • Once they are no longer frozen to the windshield, slowly lift them up while you clean your windshield and carefully lay them down
  • Cover your windshield wiper blades with socks or plastic bags in winter when not in use, or when parking the car outside in inclement weather.

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Laura Coffey

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