If you park your vehicle outside during winter, you’re no doubt familiar with the tedious task of scraping ice and snow from your windshield. Something you may not know, however, is that improper ice scraper use can damage your windshield, despite the fact that ice scrapers aren’t inherently hazardous to your auto glass.


At Only 1 Auto Glass, aside from delivering excellent service, one of our primary goals is to help Twin Cities drivers like you take great care of their windshields. Below, we’re sharing a few helpful tips to help you prevent scraper-induced auto glass damage and windshield repairs.


Always Use Plastic Tools to Remove Ice and Snow

When your windows have a thick layer of ice and snow, using a metal tool to remove the buildup might sound like a smart idea. After all, metal is sturdier than plastic, so it’ll get the job done faster, right? That might be true, but metal will also damage your windshield in the process.


A plastic scraper is the only suitable tool for the job whenever you need to remove ice from your auto glass. Since these tools are designed for the sole purpose of removing snow and ice, they’re crafted to prevent glass damage during use.


Using a metal tool or hard object not designed for ice removal can cause deep etches in your auto glass. If they’re severe enough, you may need to have a windshield repair specialist fix them.


Even if they’re not excessively deep, those scratches can refract sunlight while you’re driving, especially during winter when the sun reflects off the snow. If you have a tough time removing thick ice from your auto glass, allow your vehicle to defrost for 10-15 minutes before you attempt scraping. 


Use Light to Moderate Pressure While Scraping

Even if you’re not aware of them, your windshield may contain tiny rock chips or even hairline cracks. These types of minor damage can easily grow more severe under pressure, which is why it’s so important to avoid excessively forceful scraping when removing ice from your windshield.


To keep your vehicle out of the windshield repair shop, never use more than moderate pressure to scrape ice from your auto glass. If you can’t manually remove the buildup without really exerting yourself, run your defrost for a few minutes to loosen the ice. After your vehicle has a chance to warm up, you should be able to remove the ice with minimal scraper pressure.


Avoid Tapping Ice-Covered Glass With Scraping Tools 

If you’re in a hurry to get on the road and your windshield is covered in a thick layer of ice, taking any measures necessary to remove the buildup can be tempting. But generally, ice removal shortcuts put your auto glass at risk for damage.


While there are a few quick hacks for safely removing ice buildup, pounding on the ice with a scraper tool isn’t one of them. Whatever you do, never try to break apart a thick layer of ice on your windshield by striking it with anything — even plastic tools can cause damage.


Because auto glass slowly contracts when it’s exposed to prolonged cold, your windshield is more vulnerable during winter than any other time of the year. When you forcefully and repeatedly strike the ice on top of that glass, it’s possible to chip or even crack your windshield. 


To avoid a trip to the windshield repair shop, always remove ice as gently as possible. You might be running late, but if you break your windshield, that’ll throw an even bigger wrench in your schedule.


Alternative Snow and Ice Removal Methods

How do you get ice and snow off your auto glass quickly when you don’t have an ice scraper on hand? Here are a few effective ways to deice your windshield fast:

Use a De-Icing Spray

If you don’t have an ice scraper on hand, chances are you don’t have a de-icing spray, either. Not to worry, though — you can make your own in a matter of minutes! Here are a couple of ways to do that:


●        Mix rubbing alcohol and tap water. Combine two parts rubbing alcohol with one part water in a spray bottle. Alcohol has a much lower freezing point than water (5 degrees versus 32), so it’ll melt the ice on your auto glass fast.


●        Mix salt and tap water. Pour a couple of spoonfuls of salt into a spray bottle and fill the bottle with water. Shake vigorously until the salt dissolves and then apply the solution to the ice on your auto glass.


Keep in mind that when you use either of these sprays, you’ll still need to perform some manual ice or snow removal since sprays won’t completely melt or eliminate the buildup. Make sure your vehicle is running with the defroster on while you use these sprays, so the heat from the interior of the vehicle will help melt the ice and snow.

Use a Credit Card

It might sound crazy, but if you have a couple of credit cards on hand, you can stack them and use them to scrape ice off your windshield. However, you’ll only want to attempt to use a credit card when your auto glass has a very thin layer of ice or frost. If the buildup is thick, this trick probably won’t work well unless you allow your vehicle to defrost for 10-15 minutes.

Use Tepid Water

If you have access to tepid tap water, you may be able to use it to help melt some of the ice on your vehicle windows. Simply fill a container with cold or room temperature tap water and pour that water on the ice and snow buildup on your auto glass.


Whatever you do, DO NOT use hot water or warm water to melt snow and ice, especially if your auto glass has any chips or minor cracks. Exposing glass to a sudden, drastic temperature change can cause it to crack even if it’s fully intact.


Keep in mind that if it’s super cold outside — as in, close to zero or below zero — pouring water on your auto glass probably won’t do you much good since it can quickly refreeze.


For more ice removal hacks, check out our blog, 5 Safe Alternatives to Using an Ice Scraper on Your Windshield, for some helpful tips.


Need Windshield Repair in the Twin Cities?

When you need prompt, professional windshield repair or replacement, get in touch with our team at Only 1 Auto Glass. We have 15 locations throughout the Twin Cities metro and offer mobile auto glass repair service for your convenience.


To get a free estimate, schedule an appointment, or learn more about our services, call us today at 651-789-1111 or send us a message, and we’ll be in touch!