cOLOGNE, Germany – Stiletto heels, CD cases, credit cards and bare hands have one surprising thing in common – they’ve all been employed at some time by European motorists to scrape ice and snow off car windscreens.
Ford customers, however, need not shudder at the thought of a frosty morning, thanks to the company’s Quickclear windscreen technology.
Quickclear uses a mesh of very thin heating wires embedded between two layers of windscreen glass to provide rapid de-icing and de-fogging, providing optimum visibility in a matter of seconds.
The patented system made its debut on the Scorpio 26 years ago, yet remains a highly popular feature across Ford's entire range of cars.
"Some technologies come and go, but Quickclear really has stood the test of time," says Ford fixed glass engineer Abidine Ould-Merzough. "There’s nothing worse than running out of your home, late for work on a frosty morning, to be confronted by a windscreen thick with ice. With Quickclear technology, you simply press a button and watch for a few seconds, as your windscreen’s heating elements quickly clear the ice or snow.
"And because it heats the glass, the system also helps free frozen wipers, lengthening the life of the wiper blades and reducing stress on the wiper motor. Of course, Quickclear is also helpful when your windscreen mists up while driving."
Driving with an iced-up windscreen is not only dangerous, but can also be illegal. In the UK it carries a maximum £1,000 fine plus points on your licence.
So what if your car doesn't have Quickclear and temperatures tumble below freezing?
David Glidden, product support manager at Autoglass advises: "We recommend always using a proper ice-scraper or de-icer, to avoid damaging the glass, to remove ice from car body glass. Also, we would encourage motorists to use a pump-operated de-icer instead of an aerosol as it's better for the environment."
He adds: "We don’t advise using hot water. There is a huge difference in the temperature of the hot water people use and the windscreen itself in freezing conditions. This thermal shock may cause severe damage to the windscreen. Glass is very hard but it is not malleable so it doesn’t permit rapid uneven expansion."
Did you know?
A poll by Autoglass last winter revealed that no less than 38 per cent of motorists questioned resorted to using their bare hands in vain attempts to clear ice off the windscreen. Almost half (45 per cent) said they’ve used a credit card to chip it away, and 41 per cent admitted struggling to shift the cold stuff using just a glove!
More alarming is that a further 13 per cent of those polled confessed to pouring hot water over their windscreens, risking serious damage to the glass, not to mention depositing pools of water on the ground which can freeze and create a hazard.