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January 31, 2018 @ 12:00am

Three ways to keep your windshield clear this winter.Winter can mean an icy windshield, especially if you have to park outside at home or work, and that can mean limited visibility, especially if your defroster isn’t working the way it should be. When a defroster isn’t working, the moisture and heat inside your car can freeze to the inside of your windshield, leaving you in serious trouble. Here are three reasons why your defroster might fail this winter, and what you can do to fix it.

Sometimes, a malfunctioning defroster can be due to something as simple as a stuck switch or button, or a blown fuse. It sounds silly, but one of the best things you can do if your defroster isn’t working is make sure that your switches—whether mechanical or electronic—are functioning properly. These tend to be easy fixes you can do at home.

When you turn on the defrost, all you’re really doing is transferring the hot air that’d be coming out of your vents to your windshield so the air can remove moisture and warm the glass. Your car does this by controlling the air with a blend door. This one is pretty easy to check; just use your hands. When this door is faulty or broken, hot air will still come out of your vents, but not out of your defroster. This can be a quick fix; however, some vehicles require the removal of the whole dash in order to replace these parts.

If you’re not getting any hot air from your defrost, it might be a sign of something a little more serious. Your defroster uses the same HVAC system as your AC and heater, and can suffer from issues that affect those systems. If your anti-freeze is low, your heater core can’t generate the heat it needs to warm the air headed toward your windshield. If you’re getting no air at all, it’s likely a bad blower and you’ll need to bring your vehicle in to have it replaced.

If you need an emergency solution to an icy windshield, mix one-part water with two parts rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and store it in your car. Rubbing alcohol freezes at more than 100 degrees below zero, meaning it won’t freeze and you can spray it on your windshield to melt the ice. Then, simply use your wipers to clear the melted ice.

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