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WATCH: Top tips as you may be de-icing the car wrong

Frost on a car window icy

11:59am 26th February 2018
(Updated 5:17pm 26th February 2018)

It's scrapers at the ready as the so-called "Beast from the East" bears down on the North East and across the UK, but are you de-icing your car all wrong?

The Met Office has issued a yellow cold weather alert for the North East coastline, as that icy blast from Russia and Siberia looms.

So as temperatures plummet and vehicles freeze over, Sun FM has put together some tips on how to de-ice your car properly.

What are the commons de-icing mistakes that could land you in hot water?

1) Leaving your engine running

On its website, the RAC warns that leaving the engine running on a vehicle parked on the public road is an offence under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. This also reinforces Rule 123 of the Highway Code.

Rule 123 of the Highway Code: If you fail to turn off your engine when instructed, you may receive a fixed penalty notice of £20, which will increase to £40 if unpaid within a specific time frame.

2) De-icing fines

On its website, the RAC says: "Failure to properly clear the windscreen of snow or ice could result in the driver receiving a fixed penalty notice under the CU20 penalty code. Using a vehicle with parts or accessories in a "dangerous condition" could result in a fine of £60 and three penalty points.

"Simply removing the ice from the driver’s side of the windscreen is not enough – you must de-ice the entire area, using the wipers when the ice has melted.

"The driver must by law have a full view of the road and traffic ahead of the motor vehicle, so it is well worth taking the extra time to fully clear your windscreen and your mirrors too".

3) Damaging your windscreen

On its website, the RAC says: "Don't be tempted to use a credit card and NEVER pour boiling water over the windows. When the boiling water comes into contact with your freezing cold car windows it could at the very least weaken the glass and at the very worst cause it to crack.

"Also try to avoid using a credit card or CD case to scrape the ice and frost off your windows. As well as potentially snapping your card, this method could also scratch your windscreen".

How do I de-ice my car properly?

  • Thoroughly clearing the windscreen of ice is not the work of a moment. It could take around 10 minutes, not least because you'll also need to de-ice the side windows, mirrors and lights too.
  • Using a dedicated ice-scraper and de-icer will speed things up. Don't wait until the first frost before discovering you have run out of de-icer: plan ahead.
  • Squirt the de-icer over the windscreen, before clearing the ice with a scraper. 
  • It’s also worth lifting up your wipers by hand to check they are not frozen to the windscreen. If they are, switching them on could potentially burn out the motor – again, an expensive fix. It could also tear the wiper blades.
  • If you do not have any de-icer, there are other common household solutions you can use instead. You can use a basic solution of water with an added teaspoon of salt to pour over any affected areas. Another homemade remedy is adding the solution of three parts vinegar to one part water to a spray bottle as a homemade de-icer.
  • If you’re heading out for the day, be sure to keep a spare de-icer and scraper in the car. Temperatures can quickly drop in the evening, meaning you might need to repeat the process before leaving work.

This advice comes from the RAC and you can read more here or watch the top tips in this 2 and a half minutes advice video ...

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