Facing a snow-covered vehicle when all you want to do is Get Going can be an irritating prospect. But for the sake of safety, comfort and full functionality, make sure to remove all the snow — and especially any ice buildup — on the following areas of your car.
- Driver’s door
- Windshield and wipers
- Gas cap
Let’s go over those in detail. You will need a broom of some kind, a warm pair of gloves and appropriate footwear for this to not turn into a torture session. A snow-brush with a broom on one end and a ice-removal blade on the other will be ideal.
I. Driver’s door
- First brush the snow off around the whole frame of the car door, starting at the top and working your way down.
- Be thorough in removing snow from the crack that seals the door so that no snow flies inside when you open the door. Don’t forget the handle mechanism.
- Open the door, start the car, turn on all the Defrost options, turn the heat and fan up to high, and then get back outside to keep sweeping.
II. Windshield and wipers
Although it may seem strange to consider your trunk an important area to defrost, the rationale is that your rear window must also be defrosted. As you remove the snow from the rear window, it may accumulate in the crease of the trunk door opening. If it freezes, you’ll have a trunk that’s hard to open. This applies to the rear ends of other vehicles with different designs of hatch, window or trunk.
- Starting at the top of the windshield, brush snow downward and to the front of the vehicle.
- Thoroughly remove the snow and ice from the base of the windshield so that the wipers can move freely.
- Lift the wipers, gently tap off any ice, wipe the edge with your glove and then replace the wipers. These are an important safety feature so they must be in prime condition to allow ideal visibility, especially in challenging weather conditions.
III. Rear window and trunk
- Starting at the top of the rear window, brush the snow sideways off the vehicle if possible.
- Thoroughly remove the snow and ice in the “joints” of the trunk door (as with the driver’s door). With your car already started and the rear defrost working, this should be easy to do.
- Using the blade/scraper of your broom, be sure to remove ice from the rear window for best visibility. Be aware that once you begin driving, snow from on top of the roof of the car will be swept backward and may end up on the rear window. Plan to keep the rear defrost running; remove more of the snow from the top of the vehicle if you have time or inclination.
- Release the trunk latch to ensure the trunk has not frozen shut.
IV. Gas cap
In winter, and when driving in remote areas, keep your gas tank filled to one-half or higher level. Should severe weather hit, having the extra supply of fuel will ensure you can heat your vehicle safely should you get stuck. Remove any snow or ice from the gas cap area, and open the compartment to ensure it is frost-free.
As you work your way around the vehicle, brush off the rear-view mirrors on driver and passenger sides. Clear the snow or ice buildup from any gaps around the mirror housing. Brush the surface of the mirror off with your glove and the adjacent window surface to help the interior defrost system to do its job. As always, this is about your safety in being able to see completely around your vehicle as you drive.
As you progress around the vehicle, your last stop might be the headlights. Be sure that any snow you removed from the windshield and front hood does not accumulate on the headlights. You need them to SEE and BE SEEN, so clear them thoroughly and scrape any ice off.
Voila! You’re done. Get in, turn down the fan and heat to a comfortable level (do not turn off) to keep the warm air moving, and you’re off! These six points of defrosting are critical to putting your vehicle in safe and complete working order for a trip after a snow fall.