How to Avoid Cracking Your Windshield on an Icy Morning

There are many ways to remove ice, and despite what my friends did as teenagers, pouring hot water on your windshield is not one of them. As the temps drop, I’m using my defrost more. Sometimes, on especially cold days, it takes FOREVER for the ice to melt.

If you’re frustrated with the arctic temperatures adding precious minutes onto your morning commute, here are some dos and don’ts for quickly getting ice off your car.


  • Use de-icer  De-icer is a winter staple in my garage. To get the best results, spray a small amount on your windshield and let the product work its magic. It’s strong, so you don’t need to soak the windshield. Apply a nice, even coat and remove extra residue by pumping your wiper blades. Bam! You’re set.
  • Let your defrost do the work If the ice isn’t too thick, you can warm up your car before you start driving. This takes little time and you can be on the road in about 5 to 10 minutes. If you have a remote start, even better! You can avoid trekking out into the cold before it’s necessary.
icy windshield gif
  • Use a durable ice scraper   Not all ice scrapers are created equal! Make sure your scraper is sturdy and you feel comfortable putting pressure on it to remove the ice. . Choose a plastic scraper with soft brushes on the end.

Pro tip: Defrost your car while you’re scraping off the ice.

  • Protect your windshield wipers Lift your wipers off the windshield if you know there’s a chance of snow. Make sure all of the ice and snow are defrosted before your wipers move. Wiper components often break if you try to turn them on when they are frozen in place. Blades can tear if they are frozen to the glass.  In my opinion, the best option is to use windshield covers to prevent the snow and ice from collecting on the wiper arm mechanism and windshield.


  • Break the ice Don’t use hammers, mallets, or rocks to chip or crack the ice before you scrape it off. Remember, there’s glass under the ice!
  • Use hot water Pouring hot water on a frosted or iced windshield can cause cracks in the glass because of the difference in temperatures. A cracked windshield can be expensive to fix.
  • Use the defrost in an enclosed space. If you have a garage, make sure you open the door before you turn on your car. Ventilation is key to keeping everyone safe around a running engine.

Winter brings a set of challenges and defrosting your car isn’t a pleasant task. Stressing from an icy windshield can be avoided as long as you are prepared with the right knowledge and equipment.

Use these tips to avoid damaging your car so you can get back on the road faster.

Stay safe and stay warm,

Tom Probus, Automotive Research Specialist, BG Proving GroundBy Tom Probus
Automotive Research Specialist, BG Proving Ground
ASE Master Technician
ASE Certified for more than 20 years


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