Life Hacks are swell. They really are.
There’s nothing like scrolling through lists and lists of quirky solutions for all of your everyday problems. Unfortunately, common sense is a must to avoid tragic results at the hands of evil internet trolls.
Here are some very bad ideas that have been passed off as “car hacks,” along with some sensible and safe alternatives.
1. “Pour sugar into your gas tank for an easier start on sub-zero days!”
FALSE. So, the claim here is that sugar will burn at lower temperatures than gasoline, making your car start faster on days that are really cold. What actually happens is that the sugar doesn’t really dissolve in the gasoline, but sinks to the bottom of the tank and takes up room you could have used for more gasoline. If the sugar starts to collect in your fuel filter, it’s also not helpful. Be patient with your engine. Just like you, it needs a couple minutes to warm up in winter!
2. “Pour antifreeze into your brake fluid to keep it from freezing!”
FALSE. The only fluid that should ever become acquainted with your brake lines is plain, unaltered brake fluid. Water from the antifreeze can cause rusting and corrosion, which can in turn damage seals and cause leaks. Your brakes won’t work effectively and you will either need to have the lines completely flushed, or if the damage is extensive, have them replaced. Also, straight brake fluid doesn’t freeze, per say. It may become thicker in extremely cold weather, but you shouldn’t have a problem unless something else is leaking into the lines (excess moisture, etc.). When in doubt, have a professional take a look!
3. “Charge your smartphone in the handy slot below the CD player!”
WRONG. If your earliest memories of riding around in cars occurred after 2011, you may not be familiar with what is known as a “cassette/tape player.” They can still be found in older car models, but be assured that nothing in that slot is going to charge your phone. It will, however, scratch it quite nicely. Try inserting a funky, vintage mix tape instead and get ready to jam out!
4. Add oil to your wiper fluid! The lubrication will make ice removal a breeze!”
WRONG. There is a reason that Windex is not an oil. Oils do not make windows so clear that they may as well be invisible. Adding oil to your wiper fluid will smear all the chemicals into a nasty mess that is nearly impossible to clean and will mostly likely clog your wiper jets as an added bonus. If you are utilizing your defrost function and scraper properly, ice removal shouldn’t be a terribly difficult process to begin with.
5. “Spread a wet towel on your windshield overnight and then peel off the frost in the morning!”
NO. What you’re going to have is a frozen solid towel that is irrevocably stuck to your windshield. Even if you manage to rip it off, it will probably leave enough frosty towel fuzz glued to the windshield to thoroughly obscure your vision. You could also end up cracking or otherwise damaging the glass in an attempt to remove the towel. If you don’t like scraping, purchase an actual snow and frost windshield cover from a legitimate source.
6. “Attach sandpaper underneath your wiper blades to quickly get rid of frost and ice!”
STOP. This “hack” will only ever make you sad. While sandpaper does a great job of smoothing things that are rough, the thing underneath all that ice is your windshield, which is smooth and made of glass. You will scratch the heck out of that glass and it will feel like looking through very dirty eyeglass lenses until you get it fixed. You should, however, check your sandpaper-free wiper blades routinely to make sure that they are in excellent working condition (but please note that wiper blades are not actually designed to remove ice).
7. “Pour boiling water directly on your windshield to get rid of ice in a pinch!”
DON’T. There are very few things in this world that benefit from extreme temperature changes. Hard boiled eggs? Sure! The shell practically falls off when you peel it. Jell-O? Absolutely! Not your windshield, though. You will definitely crack or shatter the glass and ruin your day. Again, a specifically engineered cover or traditional ice scraper is your best bet, no matter how late you are to work.
At Quick-Set Auto Glass, our number one priority is keep you and your loved ones safe inside your vehicle.
The key to surviving winter is to be patient. Give yourself extra time on mornings that will require defrosting and scraping and make sure that you have the maximum amount of visibility from your windshield, windows, and mirrors before heading out. Drive carefully out there!