On rainy or cold days it is common for the windows of our car to fog up. This annoying situation, common in autumn and winter, puts road safety at risk.

And it is that, if the condensation appears in the vehicle while it is driving, the visibility is lowered considerably, which can lead to a traffic accident.

Why does the condensation appear?

The reason why condensation occurs inside the car is condensation. Or what is the same, the process of changing a substance in gaseous form to liquid form. Thus, the difference in temperature between the interior and exterior of the vehicle generates this phenomenon.

In this way, the water vapor contained in the hot air in the passenger compartment cools when it comes into contact with the glass, which is at a lower temperature, and becomes a liquid in the form of small droplets. Humidity, the result of condensation, causes this kind of layer to be created on the windshield that makes visibility so difficult. 

How and when does it appear?

The fog usually shows up on the windshield of the car, although it can also be seen on the side windows, rear-view mirrors or the rear window. To maintain good visibility at all times it is essential to never drive with fogged up windows. If we get into the car and see that there is mist on any of the windows, we must solve it before starting the journey.

However, it can also appear when we are behind the wheel, which poses a serious risk to the driver and other road users. In these cases, it is advisable to stop the vehicle in a safe place as soon as possible and wait until it is removed before continuing with the journey. For this, there are different methods that can help us. In this line, the Royal Automobile Club of Spain (RACE) points out the infallible tricks so that we can drive safely.  

Defog the glass in a vintage car

If we want to defog the windows of our car, the first thing we must be clear about is what type of vehicle we have and what functions we have. In the case of older cars, they are not usually equipped with any system to demist. The solution will be the most rudimentary of all: open the windows until you leave. And yes, driving with the windows down in winter can be annoying, but it is the most effective way to solve it.

Defog the glass in a modern car

On the other hand, if our car is younger, it is most likely that it has an air conditioner or, at least, air conditioning or heating. Let’s focus on the first case, since it is the simplest of all. If we have an air conditioner, we must adjust the cabin temperature between 21 and 23 degrees Celsius. If this is not enough, there is a specific button to defog the windshield that “activates the maximum power of hot air or air conditioning, according to each manufacturer, so that the mist disappears quickly”, they point out from the RACE.

Modern cars are often equipped with an climate control system

Modern cars are often equipped with an climate control system.

If, on the contrary, our car does not have an air conditioner, but it does have air conditioning or heating, we must opt ​​for other solutions. First, put the heating. This will dry the moisture on the windshield and keep it fog free during the drive. However, we do not have to direct the hot air directly on the glass if it is frozen, since the temperature contrast could cause a crack.

An alternative is air conditioning, which also works. However, this system will take a little longer to clear the fog and it will come back more easily. Finally, there is a third way: activate the heating and air conditioning at the same time. Although it may seem incongruous, this will reduce the humidity in the air and improve its efficiency to demist the glass faster. Above all, we must be patient and not continue driving if the windshield is fogged up, nor start the journey with part of the glass still foggy.

And the rear window?

In addition to the special button to demist the windshield, most cars have had a button for years to demist the rear window. When activated, small copper wires that are located in this glass are heated, which eliminates condensation. The RACE advises to be proactive and activate it at the slightest sign of condensation, since “this system is slower”. Also, there are vehicles that have a similar mechanism to defog the mirrors.

And the home remedies?

There are home remedies that promise to prevent the appearance of steam, such as using a potato, shaving gel or dish soap. However, RACE advises opting for specific products rather than these options. These are sprays that are applied to the inside of the crystals and prevent the phenomenon of condensation from occurring.

What do drivers do wrong?

Likewise, from Mapfre they advise avoiding passing your hands or a cloth to remove the condensation, a common practice for many drivers. According to the insurer, with this solution we will only achieve a temporary result and, in addition, we will remove the dust that is accumulated on the glass. All this, they add, will cause the appearance of spots once the glass has been demisted.

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