How To Get Ice Off Your Windshield--and How Not To

Dec 27, 2014 10:00 AM EST | Jordan Ecarma

Winter has been mild so far this year, with no polar vortexes predicted yet. But if you're living in a colder part of the country, you probably want to know how to de-ice your windshield before the season decides to settle in.

This is one case where you shouldn't get too adventurous. Some people swear by warm saltwater or a vinegar-and-water mixture, but the latter at least is still in question.

Letting your car warm up and patiently working on the ice with a scraper is the best method, according to David Shalem, a car service adviser at Uptown Auto Repair in upper Manhattan.

Drivers who find their windshield iced over in the morning should start the vehicle so the heat can melt the ice.

"That will help a lot," Shalem told AutoWorldNews.

Don't get too enthusiastic with that ice scraper either.

It should be done "slowly," or "you can break the windshield," Shalem said. "That's the simplest and best way."

If you're looking for something faster, you'll have to plan ahead. According to Reader's Digest, rubbing a raw onion half on the windows and windshield the night before will prevent frost from forming over the glass. Glass treatments that will purportedly reduce ice buildup are also available.

And if you're having trouble opening the door to get the car started, a warm key can help. Apply a lit match or a lighter to your key to heat it up, then gently slide it into the lock. If you don't have a lighter handy, breathe onto the frozen lock (preferably through a drinking straw) to melt the ice.

As for the common hot water solution, experts say it's not worth the risk.

"A lot of times people can have damage on their windshield they're not aware of," Kirk Piper of Safelite AutoGlass told ABC27 News a few winters ago. "A little chip might be in it [and] the hot water is going to hit that. With the change in temperature from the cold of the ice to the hot, it's just going to crack that windshield out."

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