Tips: Cleaning Snow and Ice From Your Vehicle in Winter
Clear the driveway
If the snow is deep enough, it’s possible to get stuck in your own driveway. If you can, shovel a path to the road. Do it before you move your car. Driving on snow will pack it down, leaving trails that will be tough to shovel up, and that can turn into ice if the temperature falls. At the very least, clear away any deep drifts around the tires, and any “snow wall” left by the snow-plow at the driveway’s end.
Clean off your car
Brush the snow off everything. Powdery snow left on the body will blow down and obscure your vision; wet snow is heavy, and you’re using extra fuel to move it around. Snow and ice falling off your vehicle can affect drivers behind you, too.
Use a good-quality snow brush
A good brush will clean off snow without damaging your vehicle’s paint. Start at the top by brushing off the roof, then the windows, then the hood and trunk, and finally, clean off the front and rear lights.
Turn on the defrosters and defoggers
While we don’t normally advocate leaving a car idling, starting the car and turning these on will clear window fog before you start out. They’re not intended to melt snow or ice, though: you’ll still need to get out and clean off the glass.
Ensure you’ve good visibility
Far too many bad drivers think it’s enough to just clean that small section of the windshield in front of the steering wheel. Don’t be one of them. You need all your glass to be clean and clear, and your car to be swept free of snow, in order to be a safer driver. In most jurisdictions, it’s actually illegal to drive with your windows obscured by snow.
Know your vehicle
If you bought your car while the weather was still nice, you may not be familiar with all of its controls. Be sure you can quickly find the defroster and rear defogger buttons or settings. If you have heated mirrors, check the owner’s manual to see how they work. Some need to be turned on with a button, or only activate when the rear defogger is on.