12 Brilliant Car Hacks That Help Make Winter Driving Painless

winter car hacks

This time of year gets so frigid that I can almost hear my poor car pleading for me to not take her out into the snow! Driving during the winter can be a harrowing experience at times, so who can blame my car for wanting to stay put? But this year I am committed to being more proactive about preparing for the worst that winter driving has to offer.

So I put together a list of useful car-related tips that should help me survive all my winter driving, and I’ll be sharing that list with you today so that you can feel more prepared too! So without further ado, here’s my list of 12 helpful (and often surprising!) winter car care tips for surviving winter driving.

Related: 6 Unexpected Car Services You’re Wasting Your Money On

12 Car Hacks That Will Help You Survive Winter

winter car hacks

1. Foggy Windshield Fixes

During the winter months, fogged-up and frosty windshields can be a constant issue. To quickly eliminate the fog without creating a mess of smudges, use a chalkboard eraser! It works really well and is easy to store in your glove box or center console.

Another tip for dealing with a foggy windshield is to make sure your car’s air recirculation is turned off. The air in your car is already humid, and humid air contributes to windshield fogging. Use the fresh air intake option instead, which will pull in dry air from outside. The dry air will help take care of the fog in no time!

winter car hacks

2. Fog-Proof Your Windshield

While the tips I mentioned above will help you get rid of fog on your windshield, there are also ways to prevent fog from forming in the first place! Here are a few you can try:

  • Smear shaving cream on the inside of your windshield, then wipe it off. You’ll leave behind a thin layer of shaving cream, which contains some of the same ingredients as commercial defoggers.
  • Fill a stocking or sock with kitty litter and leave it in your car overnight. The litter will help absorb moisture that would otherwise collect on your windshield.
  • Before you turn your car off every night, open the windows for a few seconds to let the cold, dry air in. This dry air will help dehumidify your car overnight.
  • Don’t leave water bottles or other drinks in your car overnight. The moisture from them can contribute to a foggy windshield.
winter car hacks

3. Keep Socks In Your Glovebox

Having a pair of socks at the ready in your car can be really useful during the winter! You can pull them on over your shoes if you ever need to push your car out of ice or snow. (The socks provide a little extra traction that makes it easier to find your footing.)

Another way to use socks is to cover your wiper blade overnight! Just raise your wiper blades and slip the socks over the ends. The socks will help prevent ice from forming on the blades, which will make your de-icing process much easier in the morning.

winter car hacks

4. Fix For Frozen Wiper Blades

During the winter, make sure to fill your car with washer fluid that’s rated for cold weather. It can help melt the ice that’s clinging to your wiper blades in the morning, and it can even defrost your whole windshield if the ice is thin enough!

winter car hacks

5. Impromptu Ice Scraper

Can’t find your ice scraper and need to get going? Grab a plastic spatula from your kitchen, or use a plastic card from your wallet! (It’s best to use a card that you don’t mind losing, in case it accidentally snaps while you’re scraping the ice.)

winter car hacks

6. Windshield Parking Hack

Let Mother Nature defrost your windshield for you! If you can, park your car facing east. This ensures that your windshield will get a bit of extra warmth from the sun as it rises in the morning. Your wiper blades may be able to take care of the remaining frost—no scraping required!

winter car hacks

7. Thaw Frozen Car Doors & Locks

For frozen locks, try heating your key with a match or lighter, then gently pushing it into the lock to melt the ice. (Just be careful not to burn yourself!)

Another option for thawing frozen locks is to use a drinking straw. Just aim the straw at the lock, and blow air into it. The heat from your breath will start melting the ice, and you’ll have that door open in no time!

And finally, you can use hand sanitizer to fix frozen doors and locks. Just rub a layer of hand sanitizer over the frozen area and let the alcohol melt the ice.

winter car hacks

8. Prevent Frozen Doors

Sick of having to unstick frozen doors? Prevent them from freezing in the first place with a bit of cooking spray. Just spritz a bit of it where the door seals. This acts as a “waterproofer” to prevent water from seeping in and freezing your door shut.

Related: 13 Amazing Things You Can Do With A Can Of Cooking Spray

winter car hacks

9. Keep Side Mirrors From Freezing

You can prevent your side mirrors from freezing overnight just by covering them up! You can use a plastic shopping bag, a ziplock bag, or whatever you can find to slide over the mirrors. Tie the end or keep it in place with a rubber band, and your mirrors will remain ice-free overnight.

Related: 13 Useful Things You Should Do With Your Old Grocery Bags

winter car hacks

10. Fast Headlight Fix

Having bright, working headlights is especially important during the dark and snowy winter months. If your headlight covers could use a cleaning, just cover them with a layer of toothpaste. Let it sit for a minute or two, then rinse the toothpaste off with warm water.

This toothpaste treatment will help remove the film on your headlights so they shine more brightly. It’s a quick and easy fix that’s much cheaper than buying a special headlight cleaner product!

Related: Foggy Headlights? Here’s 2 Easy Ways To Fix Them

winter car hacks

11. Get Un-Stuck Fast

Keep a bag or two of heavy cat litter in your trunk on snowy days. It will help add weight to your car, which can help give your tires a bit more traction in the snow and ice. You can also sprinkle the litter under the tires if you get stuck, which will give your tires something to grip onto and improve your chances of getting out of that snowbank.

Another useful tip for getting your car out of a snowbank is to use your floor mats. Just lay them down in the snow in front of your tires. They’ll provide more traction for your tires and help you get your car moving.

winter car hacks

12. Make A Winter Emergency Kit

Weather can be unpredictable during the winter, so it’s a good idea to keep emergency supplies in your car just in case. Start with a spare outfit that can keep you warm if you happen to get stranded. Follow these steps:

  1. Unzip a winter coat
  2. Put a thick pair of socks, long underwear, hat, gloves, scarf, and snow pants inside the coat
  3. Zip the coat up and stash the outfit in your trunk

You should also keep additional supplies in your car that could save your life in a winter weather emergency. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Flashlights
  • Warm blanket
  • Charged battery pack for your phone
  • Hand and foot warmers
  • Bottles of water
  • Energy bars

Now that you have these helpful tips, you’ll be able to face any winter driving challenge with confidence!

What’s your best tip for surviving winter driving?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • My brother-in-law told me about the windshield covers at Walmart (<$10). What a godsend! No more scraping ice off the front window; snow flips right off. Big timesaver.

  • Weight in your trunk only works if you have rear wheel drive. A heavy duty tow chain works better under the wheels than kitty litter and if you are really stuck someone may be able to pull you out. I had a feed business for 10 years and delivered to a lot of farms on back roads in heavy snow country in Ontatio. Picture a 8 ton truck with dual wheels and 12′ dry van body. Can’t tell you the number of times chain under wheels got me out. Just don’t let anyone stand behind vehicle in case it gets thrown out. Also a small square shovel and elbow grease could be a lifesaver.

    • Charlotte tell me do you just lay chain in front of tires want to try this but don’t no how. Sorry for not understanding my ex always said I was dumb. Thank you

      • Tanne, you are not dumb! Good thing he’s your ex!
        Asking a question for clarification is never a bad thing. At least you ask so you can learn. Much better than remaining silent in an attempt to save face and never learn anything. That would be dumb!

  • Great ideas. I’ve heard that before about the candles. We did a church activity years ago about things to keep in cars during wintertime and for emergencies. Luckily I live somewhere where we don’t get a lot of snow. But, we can get the bitter biting cold here in the Midwest.

  • The absolute best solution I ever use is to put your wind shield setting on heat defrost and turn your ac on. It takes the the fog out immediately.

  • Get a small steel bucket or steel ( metal coffee can) to keep the lit candle in, You would be surprised at the amount of heat it generates, Also Bread Bags to keep over feet and hands, to help keep them warm.

    I used to walk to school with a sock, bread bag, another sock, inside my boot. It kept my feet from slippin inside my boot and my feet extra warm. I got laughed at , but my feet and hands never got cold. Came in handy during the Blizzaard of 1078.

  • I once heard on the news that the warmth of one candle had kept a person stuck in a snow drift from freezing to death. A large flat candle and a lighter or book of matches might be a good addition to a winter kit. Also, my husband was once caught at his workspace for 3 days. He was warm, they even had showers, but since they continued to work he said that the dirty socks make his feet uncomfortable. So after that, I also added a pair of socks and a change of underclothing.

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