A friend found on the internet the idea of using a vinegar/water solution to de-ice car windows on winter mornings. Would vinegar be bad for the paint or rubber, vinyl, chrome, etc parts it might come in contact with?
Vinegar is acidic. I use it for cleaning windows. I use Prestone/Spray on windshield De-Icer.
Vinegar is an aqueous solution of Acetic Acid and water. I don’t think AA is a potent freezing point depressant by itself–pure AA is called “glacial” due to its tendency to solidify at moderate temperatures.
I’d sooner scrape the wndow, or use regular washer fluid…aqueous methanol, which has a MUCH lower freezing point than AA.
“White” vinegar is 5% acetic acid, and some gourmet vinegars may go as high as 7% acetic acid–the rest is essentially water. However, I doubt that anyone would use very pricey, imported vinegar for automotive purposes, so I think we should assume that the OP is referring to “white” vinegar.
So…I am supposed to believe that something composed of 95% water will de-ice a windshield?
Why am I having a very hard time believing that?
I tried white vinegar last winter and it didn’t seem to work faster than water. I didn’t think of trying washer fluid.
Vinegar, being acidic, will corrode any exposed metal it touches.
If it’s just frost, run the washers and that should do it for the windshield. Turn on the rear defogger, open the side windows, and away you go.
The most potent safe thing I can think of is pure alcohol, which you can buy in a spray can as De-Icer.
Not only acid but it stinks. Being mostly water, I can’t believe it would be much good. I use it for taking the deposits off my coffee pot and water faucets. Eats right through the mineral deposits. It’ll do the same for your wax. I made the mistake of using it aggressively on one of my bronze sink stoppers. Yeah it took the mineral deposits off as well as the bronze coating. I polished it to a bright copper color but the wife was not impressed so I just replace the stopper for $20. Best is to just scrape the windows or use the cloth covering on the windshield to save some time.
Seems like 28F is the most-quoted freezing point for vinegar, so it’ll make very little difference.
Can’t say as I’ve ever used or heard of vinegar being applied as a de-icer but the smell alone would deter me.
I’ve used vinegar while zinc plating parts and if it’s caustic enough to cause zinc to stick to steel then I can’t see how it would be harmless to plastic, rubber, and paint.
I use white vinegar and soapy water to remove calcium water spots from my sprinkler. Makes the car smell like a pickle. I then need to re-wax which smells like coconuts. Now the car smells like pickles and coconuts, maybe a pregnant women’s craving but not mine.
To summarize, Don’t use it on ice, won’t work well, smells funny, strips wax. Pre-warm the car, get de-icer in a spray can and scrape. Or move to a warmer climate…
Wouldn’t trying to remove the ice using vinegar take more effort than using an ice scraper? When I lived in Colorado I had to use the ice scraper most every winter AM on my truck, but didn’t find the task overly difficult. Maybe it is harder on the East Coast though where the snow is wetter, the snow in Colorado tended to be quite dry, not a lot of water in it for the amount it appears to be. So maybe Colorado snow is easier to scrape off the windshield.
Near Buffalo NY the snow is so wet sometimes that I have come out and found 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick rock hard ice encasing the whole car with the temp in the teens or lower. Your first problem isn’t the windshield. it is getting the doors open. The only thing that will quickly open an ice encased frozen door is a full bucket of hot water.Then you can start the car and turn on the defroster and if you have a half hour to wait it will dislodge the ice on the windows. If you don’t have time to wait , more hot water. Thick cold ice is impervious to scrapers.
Vinegar removes wax.
I might add, a good “windproof” lighter is a boon for heating up your key to melt an iced-up lock and allow it to turn.
Turn the settings to defrost the night before and use remote start in the morning and go have a cup of coffee.