I don't know about you, but I'm through with winter. The cold. The snow. The slush. It takes a toll. Especially on car windshields. Here's a few tips to keep your windshields clear and your wipers in good working order this winter.
Stuck wipers: If you park on the street like I do, you're well acquainted with what this weather can do to your windshield wipers. A light snowfall, ice or sleet can cause your wipers to stick to the glass. Try and turn on your wipers, and you could damage the blades or—if they're really stuck— even burn out the wiper motor.
Solution: This one's easy: When you park your car, lift the wiper arms away from the windshield so that they're standing upright. Not only will you eliminate the risk of them sticking to the glass, they'll also be out of the way should you need to sweep snow or ice off the windshield.
Snowy or icy windows: Whatever you do, DON'T try pouring warm or hot water on your windshield to melt the snow or ice—the extreme contrast in temperatures could crack your windshield. Don't whack at the accumulation, either; you could damage the glass.
Solution: A good old-fashioned ice scrape works best, but what if you don't have one? Use a kitchen spatula, preferably plastic. It'll do the same job as the ice scraper.
A dirty windshield: Snow, sleet and road-salt residue can splash on your windshield while driving, making for a smeary, sloppy mess that's hard to see through. And if your wipers are old, worn or damaged, they may make matters worse by smearing the gunk all over, further reducing visibility.
Solution: Check your wiper blades regularly to make sure they're in good condition, and replace them every six months. And use windshield washer fluid that contains a de-icing agent. It's less likely to freeze, which could clog the fluid jets or cause frost to form on the glass, reducing visibility. Windshield wiper fluid with de-icer is typically yellow or orange, not blue, so look carefully and read labels before buying.