Cold Weather Car Hacks to Make Winter Bearable

Inclement weather can be a hassle to drive in but it doesn’t have to be. Having to stand outside in the cold to clear windows, or not being able to get in your car because of doors that have been frozen shut is a huge inconvenience for anybody.

Luckily, there are people in the world who have the same issues and have come up with some ingenious hacks to make surviving cold weather, snow, and ice easier. There isn’t a way to beat cold weather, but using some of these tricks and hacks will make the next winter storm more manageable.

Use A Leaf Blower

LEAF BLOWER
Photo By Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images
Photo By Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Long gone are the days that you need to pay your next-door neighbor to shovel your driveway. If you have a leaf blower laying around from fall, you can use it to clean off your car and any snow hanging around it.

Its a lot safer than using a scraper that could potentially ruin your paint and works in just a few minutes so you don’t have to take up a lot of time.

Stop Engine Squeaks With A Belt Dressing

CAR ENGINES
Photo by Stefan Puchner/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo by Stefan Puchner/picture alliance via Getty Images

Cold weather can bring out the worst in cars but it doesn’t have to. Not having a belt dressing can make your car drive wonky, make your handling worse in addition to being noisy and squeaky.

If you don’t feel comfortable applying the dressing yourself, then see if your local mechanic will apply it for you for a small fee. It may seem like an inconvenience, but it is a quick and simple step that will make your drive a lot easier.

Put Candle Wax On Your Headlights

HEADLIGHTS
Instagram/@arkansasandy
Instagram/@arkansasandy

Keeping your headlights clear when the weather outside is bad is important for your safety and helps other drivers on the road see you as well. The last thing you need is to be unable to light your way through the fog and snow.

You can prevent fog and cloudiness on your headlights by doing a bi-weekly wax treatment. The wax will help prevent buildup in the first place making cleaning easier and gives you less to clean up to begin with.

Spray Some Silicone On Your Doors

SILICONE
Instagram/@my_mazda_cx3
Instagram/@my_mazda_cx3

One of the worst things that tends to happen when cold weather comes around is doors freezing shut. Just by spraying some silicon on your weather stripping you can keep your doors from sticking.

Silicon spray is cheap and easy to use and one bottle can last you the whole winter and then some. It will need reapplying after every use so keep it in your trunk and set a reminder so you don’t forget.

Use A Car Cover

CAR COVER
Instagram/@covercraft
Instagram/@covercraft

One of the easiest ways to clean your car in one fell swoop is to use a full car cover. By using a car cover anything that would’ve collected on your windshield is now collected on the car cover instead.

Depending on the severity of the winter weather you might want to find a way to tie down your car cover so that it doesn’t come undone or blow away completely.

Use Your Air Conditioning

A:C
Photo by Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo by Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images

We get it, the weather outside is cold and your car is covered in snow but try using your air conditioning to clear your windows up faster. Trust on this one.

Cold air clears up windows in half the time that your hot air will and once you are able to see, you can turn the heat on. You also don’t have to have the air conditioning on freezing cold either to make it more bearable.

Air Your Car Out

AIR CAR
Instagram/@ir.ira_
Instagram/@ir.ira_

Once you have cleared off your car and gotten it to where you need to go for the day whether that is school, work or the gym, let a little cold air into your car.

This might seem counterintuitive but what you are doing is helping to regulate the temperature of the car faster. By letting some cold air in, you are preventing frost from getting all over the windows and making the next time you come out to your car a lot easier.

Clear Your Tailpipe

TAILPIPE
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

One of the places that snow and ice can accumulate that we may not always think about is in the tailpipe. Having backed up ice and snow in your tailpipe is incredibly dangerous for both your health and the safety of your car.

The fumes can back up into the car and both the driver and passengers can inhale all of the toxic gases that were supposed to be coming out of the car. Sometimes the ice or snow will melt away on their own but check to be safe.

Keep And Emergency Kit In Your Trunk

EMERGENCY KIT
Photo by Jan Woitas/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo by Jan Woitas/picture alliance via Getty Images

It’s no surprise that with cold weather comes more car issues and accidents than any other time of the year. To make sure you stay safe and are ready for anything that could possibly happen, keep things like flares, flashlights and blankets in your trunk or backseat.

You never know what could happen, but making sure to have some tools to keep you prepared will help out in an emergency. Most auto supply shops will set emergency kits with everything you need.

Clean Your Headlights With Toothpaste

TOOTHPASTE WINDOWS
Instagram/@marvie_marv460
Instagram/@marvie_marv460

With colder temperatures come shorter days and longer nights so having clear headlights is a must. While your headlights can become dull and cloudy over time, toothpaste can clean them right up again.

Just like brushing your teeth, scrub using a toothbrush and move in a circular motion to get the best results. You don’t want to miss ice or large piles of snow on the street because you can’t see.

Break Ice From The Inside Of Your Car

ICE WINDOW
Instagram/@ferg104
Instagram/@ferg104

If you can get into your car and all of your windows have a thick sheet of ice on top of them, try this trick. Let your car heat up enough to allow the windows to roll up and down and then using your hand, knock any ice that you see.

Be careful not to punch so hard that you hurt your hand – and watch for the ice to fall back into your car, making a mess.

Smack Your Hood

FROZEN HOOD
Instagram/@lisbethjv
Instagram/@lisbethjv

If you find your car completely covered in ice, try giving your car a smack on the hood to help clear your car off. Smacking your car will break the ice so you can just sweep it off without having to scrub too much.

If the ice is really thick or you don’t have the willpower to smack your car, you can always try slamming your door or dropping your hood down for the same effect.

Invest In A Good Ice Scraper

ICE SCRAPER
Photo by Tom Weller/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo by Tom Weller/picture alliance via Getty Images

This tip goes without saying, ice scrapers can be an absolute lifesaver if your car is covered in snow or ice. You can let the heat run and slowly melt off the snow and ice that has accumulated or you can use a scraper and save yourself 15 minutes of wait time.

Ice scrapers have gotten more advanced over time. Whether you drive a large truck or a compact car, they come in all sizes and shapes to suit everyone.

Use Old Boxes For Traction

BOX TRACTION
Instagram/@jvktr1
Instagram/@jvktr1

If your car gets stuck in the snow, grab some old boxes that are lying around to add some traction under your tires.

Tires stuck in the ice need all the help that they can get so if you have already tried pushing your car and that didn’t work then try adding some traction. If you don’t have enough boxes for all 4 tires then try putting them at either the back two tires or front tires depending on your car.

Put WD-40 In Your Keyhole

WD-40
Instagram/@wd40lithuania
Instagram/@wd40lithuania

The only thing worse than frozen doors are frozen over keyholes which makes it virtually impossible to get into your car. To prevent this from happening in the first place you can put a small amount go WD-40 into your keyhole.

The ingredients will keep the keyhole from freezing over in the first place so you don’t have to worry about not being able to get into your car in the morning.

Rub Hand Sanitizer On Your Door Handles

DOOR HANDLE
Photo by Frank Molter/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo by Frank Molter/picture alliance via Getty Images

Your car door handles can often freeze over making getting into your car to warm it up impossible. If this keeps happening to you, consider trying this.

If you have hand sanitizer laying around then rub some of it onto your handles to quickly melt away any lingering ice. A natural enemy to ice, the alcohol in your sanitizer will make light work of any build-up you have on your handle so you can easily get in.

Use A Straw To Melt Ice In Your Keyhole

STRAWS
Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Your keyhole is a very small cavity but is really inconvenient to have frozen over. If you have a straw, by blowing into the cavity you can slowly melt the ice away until you can get your key in to unlock the door.

This hack won’t get your door open in 30 seconds but is faster than waiting for the sun to come up. The bigger straw you have the better so that you can cover more space.

Use A Match Or Lighter To Warm Up Your Car Key

CAR KEYS
Instagram/@springslocksmith
Instagram/@springslocksmith

If you find that your keyhole is frozen over and you are short on time, try warming up your keys by using a match or lighter if you have one on hand.

Your morning commute will take a lot longer if you aren’t able to get into your car to start heating it up. Make sure to be careful when using this method so that you don’t burn yourself since your key will get hot fast.

Make Your Own De-Icer

DEICER
Instagram/@mrperou
Instagram/@mrperou

Save yourself both time and money by making your own de-icer at home. In a spray bottle, add three parts vinegar to one part water to create your own de-icer.

Spray your de-icer on your windshield prior to any bad weather to prevent any ice or snow from sticking onto your windshield. You can also use this spray on all of your other windows as well as your mirrors so you aren’t spending time cleaning the windshield before you leave.

Don’t Use Hot Water On Your Windows

HOT WATER WINDSHEILD
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Windshields are plates of thick glass that has been highly tempered. Extreme changes in temperature, like pouring boiling hot water over a freezing windshield can cause your windshield to crack.

It could be really tempting to pour hot water on the windshield so it makes some of the most sense logically but it can ultimately make everything a lot worse. Check out some of the other tips on this list for safe and easy ways to quickly clear your windshield.

Rub Your Windshield Wipers Down With Alcohol

ALCOHOL WIPERS
Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images
Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Even if you happen to follow tips to prevent your wipers from sticking, once you start cleaning your windshield with them you can create buildup.

The snow or ice that was on your window is now collecting up on your wipers and now they are working the way they should. To prevent this from happening, take some rubbing alcohol and wipe your wipers with them before use to melt any ice or snow in the way.

Remove Any Drinks You Left In Your Car

DRINKS 2
Instagram/@marthakinard
Instagram/@marthakinard

This tip is more to prevent buildup in your car than it is to remove it but is something that most people may not think about. While it can be convenient to leave a cup in your car for work or the gym leaving bottles with even a little bit of water can add more moisture.

This moisture turns into even more fog that you have to clean up and deal with in the morning so make sure to take bottles in the house with you.

Use A Chalkboard Eraser On Your Windows

CHALKBOARD ERASER
Instagram/@wonderfield_cm
Instagram/@wonderfield_cm

Have you ever used your hand to clean the inside of your windows and it left a horrible smear that haunted you for weeks or months until you cleaned your car again?

While it might be tempting to draw smiley faces or use your sleeve to wipe the fog on your windows, using a chalkboard eraser will keep the smears at bay. If you have kids in the car, allow them to help out to make it fun.

Park Your Car Facing East

EAST
Photo by Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo by Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images

It’s no secret that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. If you are planning on taking your car out after the sun has already come up then park it facing east.

Let the sun do some of the clearing up for you and save yourself some time. If you plan on going out later in the day, flip your car around and have it facing west for the same effects. It may not completely remove the ice or snow from your car but is sure to give you a head-start.

Make Your Own Washer Fluid

WASHER FLUID
Photo by JOKER / Petra Steuer/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Photo by JOKER / Petra Steuer/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Car maintenance can be costly enough without having to spend even more money on washer fluid multiple times throughout the cold months. Here’s how you can save money and make your own!

All you need is a gallon of water, some isopropyl alcohol, vinegar, dish soap, and coloring if you want to make it pretty. It might take a few times and adjustments to get it just right but it will be incredibly helpful and money-saving once you figure it out.

Use Floormats For Traction If You Get Stuck

FLOOR MATS
Instagram/@trapoindonesia
Instagram/@trapoindonesia

Getting traction when your car is stuck in the snow is going to be a top priority to make sure that you are not stuck for long.

If you don’t have the strength or ability to get out of your car and physically push it, then use your car mats if you have some. The fabric on your mats will be something that the tires can grip onto so that they move forward and hopefully unstick.

Keep Kitty Litter In Your Trunk

CAT LITTER
Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images
Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images

Kitty litter can be used for a lot more than you might think and it can even help you out when you are stuck in snow. Keep a 30-40 pound bag of kitty litter in your trunk when the weather starts to get bad to give those back tires some extra traction.

The weight of the litter will hold down the back of the car to help the tires get a better grip on the road so you can get unstuck faster.

Use A Push Broom

SWEEP SNOW
Instagram/@billhess
Instagram/@billhess

Forget about spending money on a new scraper for your car and just use what you already have in the house. A push broom will work just as well and even somewhat better than a shorter skinnier scraper.

You can also clean your windshield wipers with a push broom as well. Just make sure to be careful that you aren’t pushing or scraping too hard so you don’t scratch your paint ruin your windshields.

De-Fog With Cat Litter

FOG WINDOWS
Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

If you have some extra kitty litter hanging around your house then you can use it to de-fog your windows. Kitty litter can also double as a super absorbent and soak up any moisture that might be lingering around in the air.

To keep from getting cat litter from getting all over your car, place some scoops into socks and strategically secure them in your car so that they can catch anything still hanging in the air.

Use An Old Credit Card As An Ice Scraper

CARD CLEANING WINDOWS
Photo by Thomas Warnack/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo by Thomas Warnack/picture alliance via Getty Images

Did you forget to buy an ice scraper this year? No worries, you can use an old card as an ice scraper instead and upcycle.

It is true that it might take a little more time since it doesn’t cover the same amount of space as a scraper would. Still, it takes considerably less time than waiting for the ice to melt. Just make sure to avoid using metal cards as they can damage your windshield or paint if you scrape too far over.

Use Cooking Spray On Your Car Doors

CAR DOOR
Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

This tip is one to use when you know that there might be bad weather headed your way. Take some cooking spray and spray down your doors and wipe it in.

In addition to the added shine, the spray will act as a lubricant and keep snow and ice from sticking to your doors. It will make sure that your doors do not stick the next day when you try to get in your car.

Pull Socks Over Your Shoes For Better Traction

SOCKS OVER SHOES
Instagram/@arsurdilla
Instagram/@arsurdilla

As much prep as we try to give ourselves, sometimes we just have to get out of our car and push it. Just like the tires on our car, we need as much traction on our feet as we can get.

Certain shoe types may not have any kind of traction on them and if you find yourself slipping, throw some socks over your shoes. This might require you getting a pair of socks a few sizes up but it will come in handy.

Use A Penny To Check Your Tires

TIRE CHECK
Pinterest/bobvila
Pinterest/bobvila

This tip is something that you should try well before the cold weather gets here. Take a penny and hold it with Lincoln’s head facing down. Place the penny in between one of the grooves on your tires and see how far up Lincoln’s head the tire comes.

If you can see most of Lincoln’s head, then you should look into getting some new tires soon. You don’t want bald tires when trying to trek through snow or ice.

Use A Rug For Traction

TRACTION
Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images
Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images

While you can turn the heat on to warm yourself and the inside of your car, there is nothing helping your poor cold tires. Cars, trucks and the like can all get stuck in snow and ice but before you get out and push your car, try giving it some traction first.

If you have some extra rugs hanging around put some of them under the tires of your car and see if they can help you get unstuck.

Throw A Rug On Your Windshield After Parking

RUG
Photo by Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo by Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images

If you have an inkling that a winter storm or snow may be coming through then before all of that snow and ice gets to your car, throw a rug over it.

Instead of having to use a scrubber or waiting for your wipers to thaw out, you can just pull the rug off your window and save yourself a ton of time. Put a rug on your rear windshield for ultimate efficiency.

Prop Your Windshield Wipers Up

WINDSHIELD WIPERS UP
Photo by Armin Weigel/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo by Armin Weigel/picture alliance via Getty Images

Working windshield wipers are an absolute must in any kind of inclement weather. Whether it is still snowing or raining outside or you just need to clean your windows off, you can save time by propping your windshield wipers up.

By doing this, you are eliminating the chances that your wipers will be frozen or weighed down by ice and snow. Then when you are ready to start cleaning your car, you can just set them back down.

Put Old Socks On Your Windshield Wipers

WINDSHIELD SOCKS
Pinterest/Homesteading
Pinterest/Homesteading

If you have a lot of snow on your front or rear windshield, then your wipers come in handy to get it off. Unfortunately, since your windshield wipers are on the outside of your car, they are susceptible to the worst weather.

Wrapping your wipers in something like an old sock makes getting the snow and ice off a lot easier. Once you get to your car, just remove the socks and now you can start wiping away.

Use Hand Sanitizer On Your Keys

SANITIZER
Photo by Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Photo by Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Your morning trip will become a lot longer if you can’t even get into your car because it’s frozen over. You can try getting in on the passenger side but chances are that it is frozen over as well.

A hack you can use on your keys is to use hand sanitizer on them. The alcohol in the sanitizer will melt any ice in your way and you should be able to get unlock your door.

Wrap Your Car’s Mirror In Plastic Bags

CAR MIRRORS
Pinterest/TheKrazyCouponLady
Pinterest/TheKrazyCouponLady

You need side mirrors in order to see cars around you, but, because of their location, side mirrors can be the hardest to clean. Just turning your heat up doesn’t help either because the heat won’t reach them on the outside of the car.

Instead, you can wrap your mirrors in plastic bags and then when you remove the bag all of the snow and ice will come off with it.

Clean Your Windshield With Shaving Cream

SHAVING CREAM 2
Pinterest/PopSugar
Pinterest/PopSugar

The inside of your windows can sometimes take just as long to clear up as the outside of your windows. In addition to time that has to be used to wait for the windows to clear up, you just are never sure whether blowing hot or cold air will is actually working or making things worse.

Putting a layer of shaving cream on the inside of the windows acts as a defogger so all you have to do is wipe it off before you drive off.