Drivers warned over de-icing myth that could damage your car and cost thousands in repairs

DRIVERS have been warned over a de-icing myth which could damage your car and end up costing thousands to repair.

As Britain is currently in the clutches of a cold snap, with temperatures dipping below zero, many Brits will be starting the day getting the frost off their cars.


Using the wrong de-icer could end up actually damaging your carCredit: Getty

Time is of the essence if you need to get to work which has left many looking for supposedly quick and easy hacks so they can get on the move as quickly as possible.

All sorts of weird and wonderful claims have been made in recent weeks, from using oranges to spraying a mixture of vinegar and water with varying degrees of success.

There are numerous options on the market if homemade remedies and hacks just aren’t up to the job.

Many commercial products don’t cost the earth, and can sometimes just set you back a few pounds.

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With an array of products on the market all making the same sort of claims, it can be hard to know just which products will work and which are just a waste of money.

Car expert, and founder of, Alex Booth, said using the wrong de-icer can prove to be costly.

He said: “When choosing a de-icer for your car, a good rule of thumb is to look for those which contain rock salt (sodium chloride) and/or calcium chloride as these natural ingredients are ideal for quickly removing ice and frost from your car without damaging the glass or paintwork.

“You can find products containing these ingredients in most hardware and vehicle stores as well as online.”

Alex also highlighted the products drivers should be avoiding, as they can damage your car.

He said: “Some de-icer products contain chemicals such as ammonium nitrate, carbamide, potassium chloride and magnesium chloride and these should be avoided at all costs as they are not suitable for cars.

“Although these might be effective at defrosting your vehicle, they may also land you with a large bodywork bill as these chemicals can corrode your glass and paintwork as well as be harmful to the environment.”

Last month, driving expert Graham Conway, managing director at Select Car Leasing, revealed a little-known de-icing tip.

He told The Sun: “When you whack your heating on in the car, you should also open one of the front windows a crack. 

“This sounds counter-intuitive, but opening the window just a touch means that the cold, moist air can exit the vehicle, while the hot air being produced can warm the vehicle windows, melting the ice.

“This is effectively a catalyst for the hot air circulating around the vehicle when the car’s heater is on, helping to heat it quicker.”

But drivers have been warned about a hack that has been circulating on TikTok recently, supposedly showing a quick way to de-frost a car.

The ‘trick’ involves putting hot water in a plastic bag and then running it over your windows – but this has the potential to cause serious damage to your windscreen.

Motorists have also been advised never to leave their car unattended while defrosting it.

Not only do you leave yourself vulnerable to opportunistic thieves who could simply steal your car, but it is actually an offence which could land you with a fine.

Mr Conway said: “Stationary idling is in fact an offence under the Road Traffic Act, which means leaving the vehicle engine running unnecessarily while the vehicle is stationary on a public road is not permitted.

“If you do need to defrost your vehicle ensure you stay with it and don’t leave it unattended with the keys inside.”

Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 prohibits leaving your engine on when it is not needed.

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This act enforces Rule 123 of the Highway Code, which states “you must not leave a vehicle’s engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road”.

If you do leave your engine idle, you could face a fine upwards of £20, or £80 in areas of London – as under the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) Regulations of 2002.

Car expert Alex Booth recommends getting a de-icer which contains rock salt (sodium chloride) and/or calcium chloride


Car expert Alex Booth recommends getting a de-icer which contains rock salt (sodium chloride) and/or calcium chlorideCredit: Getty

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