Your car is covered with snow, you need to get inside, but you can’t find the snow brush. So what now? What’s the best way to remove snow from a car when you don’t have a brush?
Here’s how to remove snow from a car without a brush:
- Use a leaf blower.
- An old credit card
- Try a squeegee.
- Take a hands-on approach.
- Remove the ice in small sections.
- Use gravity.
- Play loud music.
- Take it to a car wash.
Along with these tips, there are a few that you shouldn’t try because they could damage your car’s paint. Also, prevention tips might not come in handy when your vehicle is covered in snow, but they are things to keep in mind for the next snowstorm.
1. Use a Leaf Blower
Using a leaf blower is the easiest and most popular way to remove snow. A battery-powered blower is ideal. A flat end attachment directs a more focused blast of air so that you don’t have snow blowing everywhere.
Once you can get into your car, jump in, and start it. The warmth from the heater will help melt ice.
Some suggest this method doesn’t work as well in heavy, wet snow, but this depends on your leaf blower’s power. Leaf blower strength is measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute), and cordless models range from 350 to 580 CFM (9.9 to 16.4 cubic meters per hour).
Corded blowers are slightly more powerful, and they have the advantage of being lighter, but getting access to a plug might be a little tricky in a snowstorm. And beware, if you use a gas-powered leaf blower at 6 in the morning, your neighbors might not be too happy with you. Unless, of course, you’re having a war with your neighbors, then, by all means, use this method.
Warning: Don’t get too close to the vehicle, or you could scratch the paint.
2. An Old Credit Card
Keep an old credit or expired gift card in your car. Use it as an ice scraper, gently scooping and then pushing snow off the windows and top of the car. When dealing with ice, start the car so the heater can melt some of the ice from underneath.
Warning: Use a light touch on the car. Although it’s unlikely the card will scratch the paint, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
3. Try a Squeegee
If you don’t have a leaf blower and don’t want to ruin a credit card, try using a squeegee. Remove the snow in sections by pulling it down. Be careful, however, not to get any part of the metal from the squeegee on your car, or you could have an expensive paint job in your future.
4. Take a Hands-On Approach
Some folks prefer to bundle up and slide snow off with coats and gloves, which is about as low-tech as you get. You need to keep in mind that scraping the car with exposed buttons or zippers can damage the paint.
5. Remove the Ice In Small Sections
If you find a layer of ice under the snow, don’t panic. The key to removing ice is to break off a small piece first. Do this by hitting a section of the ice to break it. Then reach underneath and try to lift off the ice in larger sheets.
6. Use Gravity
No matter which method you use, let gravity help you. In other words, don’t wipe down the roof first. Instead, begin with the sides so gravity can do its thing and help the snowfall. And if you can’t reach the roof, the snow will slide down when driving. However, this is not recommended, as it could cause accidents.
7. Play Loud Music
For this to work, you need a stereo system loaded down with woofers, subwoofers, and some serious bass. So start your car, crank up your system, and wait for the soundwaves to break up the ice.
There are a couple of YouTube videos of people doing precisely that. Chad Wilson shows how it works in this Bass Snow Removal video:
8. Take It To a Car Wash
File this under it-works-but-what’s-the-point. You need to scrape enough ice off the windshield so you can see to drive. Then find the nearest automatic car wash and run your car through it. However, if you live in an area where it doesn’t get above freezing the entire winter, this could damage your car from the ice, especially if you don’t dry it thoroughly.
Surprisingly, it gets most but not all of the ice off, as you can see in WatchJRGo’s Clear Snow Off Your Car video. But really, why would you do this, except to make a YouTube video?
Things Not To Try
Even if you are desperate, you shouldn’t resort to using these because they will damage your car’s paint.
Window Ice Scraper
Do use an ice scraper on your windows. But don’t use one on the rest of your vehicle unless you want to damage the paint. Ice scrapers don’t tear up a hard surface like glass, but they can easily tear into the paint.
If you do get nicks on your car paint, you can use our guide on removing ice scraper marks from car paint to get rid of them.
You can find a few videos of people using a flamethrower to clear their driveways. This by itself is not an intelligent thing to do, but a flamethrower on a car is even less intelligent.
Check out the Top Gear: Adam Eliminates Snow video to see just how dumb this idea is.
The only complete way to avoid snow on your car is to park it inside a garage or under a carport. Short of that, a few prevention tips can help keep you sane when the snow season begins.
Raise Your Windshield Wipers
Raising windshield wipers keeps the rubber from being torn off when you try to pry them from the windshield. If the forecast calls for snow, go out and join your neighbors in putting up your wipers. Or, you could put a car blanket on your windshield before the storm, so you don’t risk any wind that comes from ruining your wipers.
Cover Mirrors With a Ziploc bag
Wrap Ziploc bags around the outside mirrors, and in the morning, your mirrors will be frost-free. Of course, this could be achieved with cling film or plastic shopping bags. As long as it is tight against your mirrors, it should keep the frost and snow at bay.
Use a Car Cover or Windshield Mat
If a garage or awning is not available to you, a car cover will protect your car from more than snow. It keeps your vehicle dry to prevent frost damage and protects your windshield. If you can’t afford a car cover, another option is a windshield mat.
Wax Your Car
A new layer of wax helps prevent damage caused by salt, gravel, and dirt by creating a barrier between the substances and your paint. More importantly, because the wax is hydrophobic, it creates a slick surface and makes it easier for snow and ice to slide off.
There you have it—several things to try when you need to remove snow, with a snowblower being the preferred method by many people. Many people don’t even use a snow brush, preferring to use a snowblower and ice scraper for the windshields.