It’s that time of year again. As temps start to drop, it’s common to get foggy windows in your car. Trying to drive with your windshield obscured is dangerous and not ideal. Regardless of the weather, we’re here to share how to defog windshields at any time.
How to defog windshields when it’s cold out
It’s cold out, and you have foggy windows. You can’t really safely drive in this condition, so what are you to do?
First, it’s important to note that foggy windows typically occur because there’s a significant temperature difference between the inside of the car and it is warmer than it is outside.
One of the first things you can do is put on the defroster, which helps clear any lingering moisture on the windshield. But that’s a short-term solution. To create more lasting change, you can take various steps to relieve the problem. According to Lifehacker, this is how to defog windshields based on tips from former NASA engineer Mark Rober:
- Put your car heater all the way up
- Then turn on your AC to pull the moisture out
- If you have inside circulation on, turn it off
- Open up your windows to release humid air
So even if it’s cold out, turning on the AC or cracking windows to get the cool air inside can help combat the issue of foggy windows. Though it may not be fun, it’s temporary and you can maximize the health benefits of being in the cold.
How to defog windshields in warm weather
Foggy windows aren’t just for winter or cold days, though it may happen more frequently then. When there is condensation and moisture outside, the exterior glass of your windshield can fog up. Again, you want to even out the temperatures from outside of the car and inside the car.
The easiest thing to do to defog your windshield is to use your windshield wipers. Their exact job is to wipe the windshields, so using them should help eliminate any condensation left.
If that doesn’t work, you can raise the temperature inside your car to match the outside temperature. You can warm up the car using a low setting on the AC or turn it off entirely. Since it’s a warm day, you may have the AC blasting but that could be creating more issues for you. If you have the recirculation button on, turn it off to try to manage temperatures.
Other ways to manage foggy windows
Aside from the specific tips listed above based on whether it’s cold or warm out, there are general things you can do to try and avoid foggy windows. We all know what a nuisance they can be and how difficult it can be to drive or get going when you can barely see through the glass.
The first tip is to keep your windows clean! You can use an ammonia-based cleaner that can ensure your windows are clean and don’t have any residue that moisture can latch onto. Also, look at your car heating and AC settings. You may have the air recirculating when you want to access the fresh air. A simple change in settings may fix the issue.
Another easy fix might be to crack a window or keep one open. If it’s cold, consider the rear window so the cold air isn’t hitting you directly.
If there are persistent issues and these remedies don’t work, it may be time to get an HVAC inspection to see if there is a root cause that needs to be fixed.
Lastly, be mindful of any items you bring into your vehicle that may have excessive moisture. For example, a wet bag from the rain, wet socks, and shoes, a soggy umbrella, drenched gym clothes, etc. It’s best to put these items in the trunk away from the window area where the added moisture could be a culprit for fog.
If you live in a very rainy locale, consider keeping a cloth to wipe your shoes and perhaps an additional pair of socks in the trunk, just in case (because who likes soggy socks?!).
The bottom line
Driving is a delicate dance that requires managing a lot of logistics and circumstances. Experiencing foggy windows can be a hindrance and also be a danger. Using these tips, you can learn how to defog windshields effectively so you can get on with your day. On top of managing and maintaining your car, you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your car insurance. If you’re a low-mileage driver, you might be overpaying. It’s time to re-think your car insurance and pay for the miles you actually drive. Using Metromile, you pay a low base rate and for the miles you drive, and nothing more. Grab a free quote today.
Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.