With the cold weather already arrived in Estonia, weekly Maaleht took the opportunity to publish several top tips for drivers looking to effectively clear their car windscreens and get the doors open early in the morning – or at any time.
While drivers can often be in a rush, if running late for work or the school run, for instance, making a frozen over windscreen a frustration – though this is no reason to exacerbate the situation.
Patience is the key – and leaving a car running while waiting for a windscreen to defrost runs the risk of theft; using boiling, or even just hot, water is a big no-no, and can even shatter a windscreen in the worst-case scenario.
Wipers should not be used to clear off even loose ice, as this can damage the blades rendering them less effective for clearing rain, ie. the purpose for which they are designed; adding anti-freeze to windscreen washer is also to be avoided due to such products' corrosive properties
Yanking a door open when it appears to be "frozen shut" should be avoided, and a fine spray of deicer between door and panel should be applied before gently trying the handle – and repeated if the first try does not meet with success.
Silicone oil or other products available at most gas stations can also be applied in anticipation of colder weather, while a thin layer of petroleum jelly applied to car door seals can also help to avoid ice build-up.
Gas stations sell cold weather specific screenwash which can withstand even the lowest temperatures experienced in the coldest Estonian winters, so be sure to stock up on this and remove the leftover summer screenwash from the reservoir.
Putting the car's A/C on full blast and full temperature, and set to the windscreen direction, naturally helps to thaw out ice more quickly – again remain with the car at all times; in any case excess moisture should be extracted from the car's interior to avoid window fog once things warm up, by using the A/C and/or leaving the window open a crack to allow the moister air a means of escape.
You can also buy an ionizer for the car, to absorb excess moisture and help keep windows, and for that matter floor mats and anything else, from freezing.
Finally, don't only focus on the windscreen – the rear and side windows and side mirrors are also vital and should be deiced using the same methods above, while window covers can also be used to curb some of the ice formation.
Editor: Andrew Whyte