Background – The Mountain Life
I live in the Southern Appalachian Mountain range in an area called the Cumberland Plateau. About 10 years ago I started working at my current employer. The first five years were spent on third shift and I didn’t have a carport or garage for my vehicle. Needless to say in the colder seasons my windows would get exteremly frosty (something to do with the high humidity levels in southeastern United States).
Problem – Frosty, Icy, Snow Covered Car Windows
In my area (and probably many others) there can be significant problems with ice forming on car windshields. I can recall times where I would leave work to find a 1/4″ (a little less than a cm for you metric folk) thick slab of ice on the front windshield. When I was younger my mom used to have several ice scrapers, those work pretty effectively. In a pinch you can scrape light frost with a plastic cards from your wallet or purse.
Then I got a car, it was a 1980 model Datsun quarter ton small pickup truck. Frost was problematic on this vehicle because the defroster system was not very effective (1 hour to defrost the windows one night after work). Then I moved out and was impacted severely by my lack of organization skills (never can seem to find the ice scraper (I must leave them on the windshield and drive off not remembering to place it inside the vehicle). Anyways, the preferred strategy at this time was to pour warm water over the frost/ice inorder to clear the windshield for driving.
Solution – Defrosting the Windshield Best Solutions
Let me begin with the technique that I currently use myself. I purchase deicing windshield wiper fluid, Rain-X Windshield Washer Fluid, it contains rain-x which causes the liquid to bead on the windshield when it rains and easily slide off. It also melts ice, snow or frost to -25 degree temperatures. In my 2005 Subaru Outback an my 1997 Ford Crown Victoria LX I have used this very fluid every winter for five years with exceptional results. The other big helper is a carport which was unexpected when I purchased my house.
We loved the carport because with kids (in car seats) it meant that on rainy days we remained dry. Unexpectedly it also reduced frost by a significant amount. I do not quiet understand how a carport (which is basically a roof on poles) reduces frost production on windshields but it does. Some mornings I walk out and if I park with half my car in and the other half out of the carport then there might be significant frost on the portion outside the covered space and non on the other portion.
Other techniques that work:
Hot Water (I worry this could potentially crack a low quality windshield)
Car Defroster unit (the one built into your car)
Canned De-Icing Spray (I’ve never personally bought this but my coworkers like the product).
Conclusion – My Recommendation
Get the orange rain-x deicer windshield fluid and park your car under a roof.