5 Emergency DIY Winter Car Hacks

5 Emergency DIY Winter Car Hacks
car frozen in snow

It’s that time of the year again. The temperature is dropping, the days are super short, and the air is crisp and cool. And while a snowy winter creates picture-perfect opportunities, it can also be pretty... frustrating. This is especially true for car owners who are trying to run errands or go to work.

We’ve all been there. You’re ready to hit the road, bundled up in your best winter coat and hat. Walking to your car is probably a task in itself; hello, slippery driveway! And then there is the best part: a frozen car and zero minutes left to spare.

That’s where these emergency winter car hacks come in. It turns out that completely ordinary household items can save the day. More importantly, it will ensure safe travel in poor weather conditions. These hacks are particularly useful when the ice and snow catches you off-guard. The best part is that they will cost you little to nothing, making them cost-effective and life-saving.

1. De-Fog with Shaving Cream
shaving supplies

During the winter months, windows are more likely to fog up when it snows or rains. This can make it difficult to see while driving, preventing you from seeing other cars and people. For an easy emergency winter car hack, try de-fogging your windows with shaving cream.

Just add a layer along the inside of your window. After a few seconds, wipe it off with a towel. This will remove fog quickly and efficiently. 

So, how does shaving cream work to kick fog to the curb? It has many of the same ingredients that are found in commercial de-foggers. The main difference is that you are more likely to have a can of shaving cream in your house.

To speed up the process, roll down the windows to get the air flow going. Together, these emergency winter car hacks will clear up your view in no time.

2. Melt Ice with Vinegar and Water
spray water and vinegar

A layer of ice on your windows is another pesky thing to find during the winter. Like fog, ice can block your view of the road and make it harder to see. Ultimately, it is a safety hazard that you will definitely want to eliminate.

Aside from turning your car on to warm things up, you can use ordinary vinegar and lukewarm water to help melt the ice. Simply mix 3 parts vinegar with 1 part water in a spray bottle to help loosen the ice. Spray your windshield the night before to help prevent ice in the first place. This emergency winter car hack is not only all-natural, but is extremely inexpensive and easy to do.

If you don’t have a spray bottle, just mix the vinegar and water in a bottle. Slowly pour it onto the windshield. It’s better than nothing, after all.

3. Scrape Ice with Plastic Cards
credit cards

While the vinegar-water concoction is working its magic, get things moving by breaking the ice – literally. A simple plastic card can be extremely handy during this situation. It can be the very tool you need to remove the ice if you don’t have an ice scraper on hand. 

If you’re hesitant about using a credit card for this emergency winter car hack, consider using a gift or rewards card. In either case, remember that a credit or debit card can eventually be replaced. It may be the last resort, but it is useful to keep in mind if you find yourself in a particularly dangerous or time-sensitive predicament.

Other flat plastic items other than cards work just as well. Plastic spatulas or plates can work just as well. Have some old CDs in your car? Grab one that you don’t mind parting with and use it to hack the ice away.

This emergency winter car hack works best with plastic. Do not use metal or glass objects; these items are more likely to scratch your car windows.

4. Gain Traction with Kitty Litter
kitty litter

If your car is stuck in the snow, don’t panic just yet. Cat owners will be glad to know that they already have the perfect tool to fix the problem: kitty litter. Simply pour some near the tires to provide extra traction. 

Don’t have a cat? You can also use those textured heavy-duty car mats for the same purpose. Aside from protecting the inside of your vehicle, this emergency winter car hack provides a great reason to invest in tough car mats. They provide the perfect alternative for a last minute back-up plan. Like kitty litter, car mats will provide leverage and traction for your tires.

5. Clean Headlights with Toothpaste

Headlights are an essential component of safe driving. This is especially true during the night time and winter months. Proper lighting improves visibility and lets other cars know of your presence. It will also help you see pedestrians, animals, and road signs.

For an easy and clever emergency winter car hack, head to the bathroom and grab a tube of toothpaste. This standard toiletry item happens to be perfect for cleaning more than just teeth. Simply wipe your headlights with a dot of toothpaste to clear them up. Done and done.