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Do's and Don'ts After an Ice Storm

Iced in car 1930s

In many parts of the country, ice storms are a seasonal likelihood. Walking out to find a car covered in ice is frustrating. Here are a few things to do and not to do after an ice storm covers your car.

Do brush off snow covering any ice on the car using a snow brush, broom, or another tool that won't scratch paint or chip glass. Do not use a shovel, pick, or similar item.

Do smack the hood, trunk, door panels, and other flat, metal surfaces with the flat of your gloved hand. This helps break up ice and much of it will likely fall off. Do not smack window glass this way and do not use anything but your open hand.

Do start the car at the earliest opportunity and let its own heat generation begin its work on the ice covering the car. Open the radiator cap and check fluid levels before you start the car. Do not start the car if you are not sure that the exhaust pipe is clear and the radiator grille is open to airflow.

Do stay with your car while its warming up and continue to knock ice off surfaces as you can. Kicking the tires can knock ice off of them and as the car warms up, windows may become easily scraped with an ice scraper. Do not leave your car unattended as it warms up as it can overheat if the radiator is frozen or the anti-freeze is improperly mixed or low.

Do turn on the headlights while the car is running as the heat from the lamps can help break up the ice on the headlights and tail lamps. Do not run the windshield wipers and washers until you are sure that they are free and the windshield is mostly ice-free. Stuck wipers can quickly burn out the wiper motor and running the washer squirters automatically turns on the wipers..

Do not pour hot water on your car. The sudden heat difference can crack glass, warp plastics, and even weaken metals.

Do leave the car out in the sun to keep de-icing without the engine running. If you don't need to drive it, just let nature do its thing and de-ice the car for you. Ice storms rarely last through the day.