These freezing mornings you’re probably finding your windshield frosted/iced over. And you’re tempted to throw a bucket of hot or warm water over it.

Don’t do it. You might crack your windshield.

You can throw cold water on it, but even better, and safer, says Mike Andrews of Reliable Auto Glass in Rohnert Park, is to start your car, turn on the heater for five minutes, thus warming up the car and windshield, and THEN turn on your defroster. If you turn on your defroster right away, he says, you also might crack your windshield, especially newer cars where the defroster air heats up quickly.

He says that after those five minutes he typically finds he can just use his wipers to push off the ice or frost.

Andrews says this week he’s replaced one windshield of a customer who tossed warm water on it and two of customers who had immediately turned on their defrosters.

“It’s always been the case,” said Andrews, who’s owned Reliable Glass for about 40 years.

SPECIAL NOTE: If you’re letting your car warm up, stay nearby or even in it because every winter cars are stolen here as their owners let them warm up but go inside their home to do other things.

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  1. Tami Trickel

    Because I have a full size truck, scrapping is not the answer. Also, I don’t have the time and patience in the morning to let the truck defrost so I simply take an old flat sheet and place it over the windshield and mirrors the night before. In the morning I simply peel off the sheet and hang it to dry for the day. Works like a charm!

    January 6th, 2011 10:53 am

  2. robert

    I found that if you put a bed sheet or a towel on your window the night before that you can just come out in the morning and remove it. Your window will be frost free

    January 6th, 2011 11:31 am

  3. James Graves

    I’m not real keen on the idea of letting your car run for 5 minutes (in my case 10) It is very inconsiderate to neighbors, and also a waste of time and gas when usually a good scraper works, or better yet the sheet from the previous commenter sounds like a great idea.

    January 6th, 2011 11:35 am

  4. Road.Warrior

    All great ideas. Thanks.

    January 6th, 2011 12:05 pm

  5. 95409Fan

    Agreed to all – I use a towel the night before, go outside turn on my car to warm up for about 3 minutes while I fill up my coffee cup and come out peal the towel off and we are good to go! Forget warming things up I am on the go!

    January 6th, 2011 12:29 pm

  6. Sabrina

    Agree with James. Letting your car run is very, very inconsiderate to neighbors (some of ours let theirs go for 20 – 30 minutes at 5AM or earlier). It’s bad for the environment, wastes gas and is dangerous. Cars are stolen and some slip into gear by themselves. Sheets are great.

    January 6th, 2011 12:45 pm

  7. ken

    i just think its kind of funny that the press democrat published a picture of a guy pouring what seems to be a bucket of hot water on a car to defrost at 7:45am this morning, and then the road warrior puts in some comments three hours later, saying don’t do it.

    January 6th, 2011 12:52 pm

  8. John

    I moved here recently after living in northern Minnesota for over thirty years. High temperatures in December and Jan. often barely reach zero degrees-many days the high is -10 or colder. During those days, I set my defrost and let it clear the windshield without EVER having a crack. The guy from the auto glass company has likely never lived outside of northern California, and thus is interprets 32F as frigid. If you natives ever stepped off a plane in Minneapolis in Janurary you would likely fall over dead in ten minutes.

    January 6th, 2011 12:54 pm

  9. BC Low

    Sheets/towels sound like a good alternative, especially for hybrids whose engines don’t run unless you are stepping on the gas pedal or have the heater going full-tilt!

    January 6th, 2011 12:59 pm

  10. Road.Warrior

    The photo raised the question for me: Is water a good idea?

    January 6th, 2011 1:38 pm

  11. Sarah

    I have lived here all my life (39 yrs) and driving for 23 yrs of that. I have never cracked a windshield from pouring water to defrost nor do I know of anyone who has. The question is…those windows that do crack from it, is it because they already have a major chip (weak point) or a slight crack to begin with?

    January 6th, 2011 2:25 pm

  12. none

    great suggestions. even better would be if the nice old lady who picks up my paper from the sidewalk and flings it to my door would take an extra moment and scrape off my car. then i’d be really impressed with her neighborliness. :)

    January 6th, 2011 4:36 pm

  13. smartcookie

    My old bathroom rug over the windshield stays on all night, and dries in the sun during the day. Or, I could park my car in the garage!

    January 7th, 2011 11:22 am

  14. John Merritt

    I park my ride under an overhung tarp. Never have to worry about ice on the windshield. It works just as well as a carport or a garage.

    January 10th, 2011 1:41 pm

  15. Michelle

    Overnight it snowed here in SLC, UT and I put the defrost on high and when I came to work, the window cracked all along the area where the defrost was hitting the windshield the most. So I believe that it can happen..

    Don’t chance this.. I will consider the warming up the car for 5 mins with heat in the entire car before putting on defroster..

    February 19th, 2012 5:18 am

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