Scraping ice from your car’s windows is a special kind of winter torture. What’s worse is when the weather’s bad enough that your windshield wipers freeze in place! Before you try to pull them free or drive with a dismal view of the road, try these tricks to speed up the deicing process. Then learn how you can help prevent frozen wiper blades from the start!
Quick Fixes for Frozen Wiper Blades
Whatever you do, don’t pour hot or boiling water onto your windshield. Doing so can cause it to crack and shatter, especially if there are existing chips in the glass. The hot water will wedge its way into the glass and take the damage from yikes to yowza! Instead, consider the following fixes:
- Vinegar and water: Mix three parts vinegar and one part room temperature water in a spray bottle, says LifeHacker. Spray your windshield with it before going to bed for an easier time defrosting it in the morning. Even if you forget to spray your windshield at night, you can still use the solution in the morning to speed up the melting process. (You can replace the vinegar with rubbing alcohol if that’s what you have handy, notes Moms4Real.)
- Pickle juice: Pickle juice—yes, pickle juice—contains vinegar as well as salt. That combination makes it an effective way to clear an icy windshield and thaw frozen wipers, says Farmers’ Almanac.
*Like the road salt that's typically thrown on city streets during a storm, the salt and vinegar in the above mixtures can be corrosive and damage your car’s finish, especially if left unwashed for a long period of time. As soon as the weather warms up, give your car a good rinse to make sure there's no salty residue left behind. *
- Vodka and water: This is another handy trick, courtesy of Farmers’ Almanac! If you’ve ever stored a bottle of vodka in your freezer, you know it doesn’t freeze. That’s thanks to its ethanol content. Mix one part room temperature water with two parts vodka and either spray or pour on your windshield and wipers.
- Cold weather windshield wiper fluid: The same fluid that works so well in the spring and summer can freeze to your windshield in the winter, so make sure you use winter-specific windshield wiper fluid. If you have a bottle in the trunk or garage, you can pour it directly onto the windshield to help soften the ice and speed up the deicing process.
Easy Ways to Prevent Frozen Wipers
If your wipers have frozen to the windshield once, they’ll do it again. Keep your pickle juice where it belongs and try one of the following preventative tips, especially if you aren’t able to park your car in a garage or covered area.
- Cover your windshield at night. Place some cloth, carpet remnants, or (for colder temps) cardboard onto your windshield once your vehicle is parked for the evening. Simply raise your wipers, lay down whatever material you’re using, and carefully lower the wipers to help hold the “blanket” in place.
- Put socks on your wipers. Slide a long tube sock over each wiper blade and leave the blades lifted up and off your windshield for added protection.
- Install the right wiper blades. Windshield wipers don’t last forever. For best performance, they should be replaced every 6-12 months. If the wiper blades’ rubber is crumbling or ripped in any areas, schedule some time to install a new set that’s made for your climate.
Our trusted technicians are here to help you stay ahead of Jack Frost. For hands-on support, stop by your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for new windshield wipers and a safety inspection today. A streak-free, clear view of the road is the best view, regardless of the season!