One of the most important things you can do to stay safe on the road is to keep your vision clear. You should wear your prescription contacts or glasses if you have impaired sight. It’s also essential to keep your windshield clear of obstruction, be that ice or fog.
If you’re driving in bad weather and your windshield freezes or fogs up, you should stop your car and clear it before driving on. Fortunately, there are several quick ways to fix this problem.
First, make sure you don’t make these common mistakes:
- Don’t use hot water to defrost your windshield; it can damage your wiper blades or even crack the glass.
- Don’t use your defroster in “high-heat” mode, as this may worsen the fogging. Constantly adjust it to low heat.
Let’s discuss the causes, remedies, and prevention tips for a foggy or frozen windshield.
How Fog and Ice Forms On Your Windshield
Fog and ice form on your windshield as condensation. Cold temperatures outside cause moisture in the air to condensate into liquid water on surfaces. This process can happen quite quickly if the interior of your car is much warmer than the outside.
Condensation can also happen if you open your car windows on a cold day and warm air from inside meets cold air from outside.
Once condensation begins, fog or frost can build up on your windshield in two ways:
- Slowly over time, as more droplets of water form on top of each other
- Rapidly after an initial accumulation (like when you first open your car door in freezing weather)
Habits that Cause Windshields to be Foggy or Frozen
You are more likely to experience this problem when driving out in cold weather. There are a few other causes:
- Using your defroster on high heat.
- Leaving your car parked in the cold with the windows open.
- Driving with a cracked windshield
- Driving at high speeds through freezing weather
The best way to deal with a foggy or frozen windshield is to prevent it from happening in the first place. You can do this by monitoring your defroster and tracking the temperature.
How to Prevent Freezing and Fogging of a Windshield
If you have a problem with a foggy or frozen windshield, here are some tips to prevent it:
1. Use an anti-fogger solution
Anti-foggers are chemicals that you add to your washer fluid. They help prevent condensation from forming on your windshield while you’re driving.
Some anti-foggers have additives that help them last longer than others. So be sure to check the label before you buy one.
Many experts recommend using a product like Rain-X Anti-Fog Treatment Lubricant. This anti-fogger contains silicone oil and other lubricants that line your windshield’s surface. This way, when water hits your windscreen, it beads up and rolls off instead of sticking to it.
2. Check the defrosting system for leaks
This is because leaks will allow moisture into places where it shouldn’t be, such as under the hood and inside the cabin.
Check to ensure that there aren’t any leaks in your vehicle’s heating and cooling system. If there are any leaks, fix them before they cause further damage to your car.
3. Clean the outside of your windshield
Another way to prevent foggy windows is by cleaning them; they’ll continue to fog up if they’re dirty as you drive.
And don’t use just any cleaner. Use a glass cleaner that has ammonia in it. Ammonia evaporates faster when exposed to heat from your defroster or heater.
Even better, a good quality rubbing alcohol also works well for this purpose.
4. Keep your car warm
Running your heater while parked outside will keep the car’s inside hotter than the outside. Heat makes it harder for ice or snow to stick to glass surfaces in the first place.
This is especially important if you park in an area with lots of winter snowfall. If you park your car outside overnight (or during the daytime), remember to start up its engine every few hours.
Also, let your car sit in a warm garage for an hour before driving it again, if possible. That way, any leftover moisture will evaporate (and not freeze up) on the glass when you turn on your heater after long hours in the cold.
5 Remedies if Your Windshield is Foggy or Frozen
Visibility problems due to fogging can increase accident risks. Here are five simple ways to fix a foggy or frozen windshield:
1. Use a de-fogging spray
One remedy is using a de-fogging spray made especially for car windows. The best thing about these sprays is that they don’t leave marks on the glass after use.
Spray de-icing agent onto the window until you cover the entire surface. Afterward, wipe off excess liquid with a clean cloth or paper towel.
The ZEISS Fog Defender System is an excellent place to start if you don’t know which product to choose.
2. Use an ice scraper
Ice scrapers are the most common way to remove ice from your windshield. This tool comes in many different styles depending on the type of vehicle you drive and your car brand.
Ice scrapers can be plastic or rubber. They usually have a sharp edge on the end you use to scrape away ice from your windshield, and the other end has a curved or flat surface to help you scrape snow off of your car’s roof or hood.
Remember, scraping ice off a windshield can be daunting. Choose an easy-to-use design like the FOVAL 47.2″ Extendable Snow Brush and Wider Ice Scraper when shopping.
3. Vacuum method
This method involves using a vacuum cleaner or leaf blower to remove moisture from your windshield.
You can’t use a leaf blower on wet glass because it will only push water around instead of removing it. But Vacuuming may remove the dirt particles causing visibility problems if your glass is dry.
4. De-Icer method
Spraying de-icing chemicals onto your windshield can help clear away ice or frost buildup.
Most commercial de-icer sprays contain a chemical called ethyl chloride: it is a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) that the U.S government has banned due to its harmful effects on the environment.
So when shopping for one, go for windshield- and eco-friendly versions like the Prestone AS244 Windshield De-Icer – 17 oz. Aerosol.
5. Use toothpaste
Another way to fix a foggy and frozen windshield is by using toothpaste. While this may seem odd, it’s one of the most effective methods.
Take some toothpaste and apply it to your window where some streaks or spots need removing. Next, use a damp cloth or towel to wipe off the toothpaste until the area looks clear again.
This method works great because toothpaste contains fluoride. Fluoride has lubricating properties to help prevent fog from forming on your windshield.
Final Thoughts on Windshield is Foggy or Frozen
If you see that your windshield is foggy or frozen, clear it up right away using one of these methods. You can also follow our prevention tips to keep ice off of your windshield in the first place. Prevention is better than fixing the problem once you have it.