If you grew up in a snow-belt state, you know the drill - and if you just moved to one, you're about to learn. Once temperatures get down around freezing or below, the glass in your car will attempt to spend the rest of the winter encased in fog and snow. No, not really; we're sure your glass has only the best intentions. But the road to miserable winter visability is paved with them, so give yourself a leg up this year with our guide to cold-weather clarity.
Keep your glass clean. Cleanliness may seem beside the point, but guess what: if you let any kind of film build up on your glass, you’re basically creating a big moisture-magnet. You can see this for yourself if you leave finger tracks on a filmy windshield at night—the next morning’s condensation will flock everywhere except where your fingers wiped the film away. So do yourself a favor and put the Windex to your glass every week or so. You’ll be surprised by what a difference it can make.
Don’t be damp. Ever hopped into your car after a workout and noticed how the gym sweat steams up your windows? This can be a real issue in below-freezing temperatures, which can turn your moisture into the dreaded internal window frost. Feel free to bust out a scraper and do your thing on the windshield while you drive home—it’s a common sight in snowy climes—but we strongly recommend making your life easier (and safer) by toweling off thoroughly beforehand, and of course tossing any wet or damp fabric in the trunk.
Turn up the A/C. Now hear this: air-conditioning—yes, with the heat cranked up when it’s cold—is your windshield-clearing friend. Why? Long story short, it pumps out air that’s considerably drier than the air in your cabin. Since the point is to get rid of condensation buildup, you want the driest air you can get. Sure, the air-conditioner uses incrementally more fuel, but employing it as a defroster has the fringe benefit of keeping your A/C system lubricated through the winter (which is partly why it comes on automatically when defrost is selected in modern cars). Just make sure your airflow control is set to fresh, as recycling the stale, humid air in your cabin would kind of defeat the purpose.
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