What Not To Do To Your Car in Winter
5 Car Hacks You Should Avoid in Winter
1. Don't use hot water to defrost your windshield!
A windshield that's frozen over can crack if hot water is used to de-ice it. For that matter, any window or rubber seal that's frozen could crack and break. Instead, turn your car on and use its heating system to slowly melt any ice and snow. Alternatively, you can simply cover your car with an inexpensive tarp when parking it outside overnight. If you can't get into your car, and you left it uncovered, use lukewarm/cool water to de-ice your windshield without the risk of cracking it.
2. Don't leave your wiper blades raised!
Wind can easily snap your wiper blades down on your windshield hard, causing it to crack! It's much better to leave them in their normal position and stop them icing over in the first place. You can wrap each blade and arm in a plastic bag, or simply put a tarp over the top of your car. If you didn't cover your car, and ice has formed around your windshield wipers and the bottom of your windshield, you can use lukewarm/cool water to start de-icing it. Make sure to clear out any debris from around the base of the blades and windshield using a brush or your hand.
3. Don't charge a cold, dead battery with high voltage!
Charging a dead battery in cold weather with high voltage, such as from revving a large engine or the full-power setting on your battery charger, can damage the cells and connectors. The power from a running smaller vehicle might also be too much. Instead, charge your battery with a medium or low setting battery charger for a few hours or bring it to an autobody or mechanic shop if you don't have one. If your battery is frozen, bring it into a warm place to defrost before attempting to charge it. Any bulging of the battery casing indicates that the liquid electrolyte has frozen and the battery mostly likely needs to be replaced.
4. Don't use a lighter to unfreeze frozen windows, locks and doors!
Using a lighter can damage newer keys that have sensors and other electronics embedded in them. Not to mention it's just impractical and dangerous to use a lighter for unfreeze anything else! It's much better to used a blow dryer, lukewarm/cool water or de-icing fluid if your car has frozen over. A trick to unstick a car door is to push against it to break the seal, chip away at any remaining ice and use lukewarm/cool water to melt it. If your locks are frozen, try a spray lubricant, a de-icing spray and a hair dryer. For frozen windows, the same techniques will work. To prevent these things from freezing in the first place, put garbage bags between the doors and the frame, and cover your car with a tarp.
5. Don't use your wiper blades to remove snow and ice from your windshield!
The arms of wiper blades are delicate, easily broken and very costly to replace. To prevent any damage, make sure your windshield wipers are turned off as you park your car. Use a proper brush and scraper to remove ice and snow from the windshield, or any of the techniques above, instead of your wiper blades. Be careful to avoid the windshield washer jets with the brush/snow scraper, as these little jets are easily damaged.