In Winter, when warm bodies pile into a cold car interior, moisture builds and the windows mist up because of the temperature difference. It’s a fact that, in a recent survey, a third of drivers admitted driving with their windscreen iced or misted up in wintry conditions. That way penalty points and fines await, because it is illegal to do so.
Driving away with a poor vision of the road ahead is a recipe for disaster anyway, and wiping a greasy palm across the glass is a bad idea, so try the following steps before moving off:
Most cars have some form of rudimentary air-con from a basic set-up to area climate control and it is the quickest way to demist car glass, even from cold. Set it to the windscreen setting. Modern vehicle engines warm up very quickly so, although setting the air-conditioning from cold may result in an icy blast at first, it will quickly start to clear the screen.
Angle the side vents so that the warming air starts to de-fog the front side windows too. Air conditioning circulates, so the rear window will also start to clear.
Cars without air-conditioning, older models for example, can be demisted by turning on the heater system. Turn the fan on full but remember, start from the cold setting and gradually increase the temperature as the car warms up to avoid a sudden temperature change on the glass. It will take a little longer, but nobody is in a rush to have an accident.
Although it is not the most comfortable suggestion, opening the windows will help to demist the interior by equalising the temperature inside and out. It’s a chilly solution though.
A Microfibre Cloth
Motor factors usually have an array of items to wipe moisture from glass. The best are called microfibre cloths and are a worthwhile investment for several car care jobs. They vary in size and thicknesses and are made from a combination of synthetic fibres especially chosen for specific characteristics, including softness, toughness, absorption and anti-static qualities.
Cheap cloths, rags or sponges rarely work well so a nice big microfibre cloth slowly wiping the glass will take up moisture quickly and help to clear the glass of the greasy sheen that builds up on the inside from human breath, food and drink in the car and smoking. Using these cloths in conjunction with a good automotive internal glass cleaner on a regular basis helps too.
What doesn’t help is a gloved or bare hand smearing the surface, it’s ineffective and may only open a small window of blurry vision directly in front of the driver. That’s not good enough: Only a clean screen will do. By the way, air-con needs routine servicing and re-gassing with fresh refrigerant every couple of years to keep it running cold. Ask your local car servicing garage about this inexpensive job, perhaps as part of the annual service.
Note: Idling a car outside the house to ‘warm it up’, is pointless as cars warm up quicker when being driven. Also it’s against the rules and could attract a fine for excess emissions. Further, a nice warm car with the keys in could prove too tempting for a certain type of pedestrian. Follow the above steps instead!