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Windshield iced over while I'm driving... what did I do wrong?

ozweepay

Member
Jul 16, 2015
208
35
Boulder, CO, USA
Just drove through 27F weather with freezing rain for about an hour. Although I turned on front defroster and manually maxed out the fan, the edges of ice infringed further and further until I had just a saucer-sized opening on the driver's side windshield (and nothing at all on the passenger's side). The windshield wipers scraped fruitlessly over the icy veneer and finally it closed up entirely. Oddly, the side windows and rear window was completely clear of ice.

Is this normal? I've been driving 35 years and never had this happen before... but then 25 of those were in CA, so only 10 years in cold weather.

(I don't have sub-zero and I wasn't in range mode.)
 

Bangor Bob

Member
Jan 5, 2015
670
486
Bangor, ME
Even in an ICE it can be tough to get enough heat on the windshield to maintain visibilty in freezing rain. The best option is to get off the road and find something else to do until it stops. Second best is to slow down, set the cabin temp to max, the fan to max, and direct all the air onto the windshield.
 

Discoducky

P100DL, 2021 M3, 4 CT reservations and counting
Supporting Member
Dec 25, 2011
3,699
6,129
My mountain
Did you press the windshield icon twice so that it turned red? If so, when you have it red, then press the climate auto icon and check the settings as you can change settings to manual or auto.

I've driven through cold weather with freezing rain and it should work, but YMMV
 
Apr 19, 2015
35
1
United Kingdom
Just drove through 27F weather with freezing rain for about an hour. Although I turned on front defroster and manually maxed out the fan, the edges of ice infringed further and further until I had just a saucer-sized opening on the driver's side windshield (and nothing at all on the passenger's side). The windshield wipers scraped fruitlessly over the icy veneer and finally it closed up entirely. Oddly, the side windows and rear window was completely clear of ice.

Is this normal? I've been driving 35 years and never had this happen before... but then 25 of those were in CA, so only 10 years in cold weather.

(I don't have sub-zero and I wasn't in range mode.)


Do you use screen wash that has been approved to -20 Celcius or concentrated screen wash for those colder days. It does help. I always envy the Ford cars that have the front windscreen heated wire embedded in the windscreen. They worked best in difficult conditions in my opinion. Too bad they have had this decade or more as a stock feature on some of their cars but other manufacturers don't have this useful feature even as an option.
 

ozweepay

Member
Jul 16, 2015
208
35
Boulder, CO, USA
Did you press the windshield icon twice so that it turned red? If so, when you have it red, then press the climate auto icon and check the settings as you can change settings to manual or auto.
No, it was a blue icon and I didn't know I could tap it again to make it red. In fact, I just did a few web searches and cannot find documentation for what the difference is between a blue and red defrost icon. Red is more heat?
 

Barry

Active Member
Aug 9, 2013
1,857
1,446
Colorado
I was watching Denver news this morning and one of their reporters was on the road. They showed him using lots of Windshield washer fluid to clear the windshield ice buildup from the rain freezing on contact.

I've lived in CO for 6 years and this is the first time I've seen freezing rain here. When I lived in PA, it was fairly common in winter. Needless to say, I haven't experienced freezing rain in my MS.

- - - Updated - - -

No, it was a blue icon and I didn't know I could tap it again to make it red. In fact, I just did a few web searches and cannot find documentation for what the difference is between a blue and red defrost icon. Red is more heat?
From the manual:

The windshield defroster distributes air flow to the windshield and operates the heating and
fan at their maximum level. Touch once for Normal Defrost and twice for Max Defrost. When
on, touch again to turn off and restore the air distribution, heating, and fan to their previous
settings
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2012
19,951
23,854
Texas
No, it was a blue icon and I didn't know I could tap it again to make it red. In fact, I just did a few web searches and cannot find documentation for what the difference is between a blue and red defrost icon. Red is more heat?
Blue is for clearing condensation off the inside, red is for maximum air and heat to the windshield.
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,870
Toronto, ON
Blue is for clearing condensation off the inside, red is for maximum air and heat to the windshield.

Yeah, I think Blue just directs air to the glass at the same fan speed and temp setpoint you already had (but does turn on the a/c compressor) while Red seems to put the temp to Max and the fan to at least 10 (maybe 11).
 

islandbayy

Active Member
Feb 25, 2013
2,656
1,042
Greendale, Wisconsin
Just drove through 27F weather with freezing rain for about an hour. Although I turned on front defroster and manually maxed out the fan, the edges of ice infringed further and further until I had just a saucer-sized opening on the driver's side windshield (and nothing at all on the passenger's side). The windshield wipers scraped fruitlessly over the icy veneer and finally it closed up entirely. Oddly, the side windows and rear window was completely clear of ice.

Is this normal? I've been driving 35 years and never had this happen before... but then 25 of those were in CA, so only 10 years in cold weather.

(I don't have sub-zero and I wasn't in range mode.)
Made this just for you!

 
Last edited by a moderator:

ozweepay

Member
Jul 16, 2015
208
35
Boulder, CO, USA
Thanks to all. I didn't realize you could double-tap the defrost icon. I had hit it a 2nd time last night, but not immediately after the first tap.

Thanks for the video!
 

mikeash

Active Member
Oct 26, 2014
1,105
703
Fairfax, VA, USA
I somehow missed the whole double-tap thing, so thanks very much from me as well. This will be my first winter with the Model S, and while we don't really get winter here in Virginia, things do occasionally freeze, so I'm sure that will be very good to know.
 

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