Are you Wasting Fuel and Money Defrosting your Car?

With fuel costs rising and most people desperately trying to save money, why is it this winter alone UK motorists will waste nearly £50 million of fuel leaving their cars to idle with the engine running in order to defrost them?

According to a study by Direct Line Car Insurance the fuel wasted equates to over 300 million road miles and would enable someone to drive an average size car more than 13,000 times around the world!

Even worse is that on average it takes three minutes to defrost their car and yet some 5% per cent of motorists admitted to letting their engine run for ten or more minutes before setting off on their journeys5, making them responsible for £2.45 million of the total wasted on fuel.

Wasting fuel could be the least of the motorists worries as over 40% admitted to leaving their cars unattended with the keys in the ignition, making them a perfect target for thieves. By leaving the keys in the car they are also risking invalidating their car insurance should the car be stolen.

Steve Price, head of Direct Line Car Insurance, said: “With fuel prices having risen more than 40 pence per litre since 2007, it makes more sense than ever to consider alternative methods of defrosting your car on icy days.

“It is really important that drivers never leave their cars unattended with the keys in the ignition under any circumstances, but particularly when defrosting their cars.

“Many of us are pressed for time in the mornings and so leaving your car to warm up whilst running back indoors to tie up some loose ends can seem like a clever use of our time. However, if a theft occurs under these circumstances policyholders may not be covered.”

Did you know that failure to fully de-ice your windscreen could land you with a fine and even points on your license?

So, to help ensure you avoid such a fine, with help from Direct Line here are some de-icing tips

  • If possible park your car in a garage overnight in order to drive away frost-free, and without any scraping, in the morning – prevention is better than cure
  • Otherwise you could invest in a windscreen frost guard for around £7 or a car cover for around £30, depending on the size of your vehicle. You could also use an old blanket, securing it underneath the windscreen wipers
  • Night before aerosol sprays are available (£2.99) as another preventative measure. You spray your car’s windows when leaving it overnight and the ingredients prevent the ice from building on the glass
  • For quick and easy ice removal, buy a cheap de-icer aerosol, available for £1.99, coupled with a scraper for less than a £1. Make sure you clear all the windows around the car.
  • Allow an extra ten minutes in the mornings to de-ice your car and make sure you only set off once all the windows are clear and you have full visibility.

MoneyHighStreet comments: “Very timely advice here on de-icing your car.

“We’ve all done it haven’t we, trying to drive with visibility though just a small square of windscreen as we just haven’t got the time to clear the rest of it?

“Bottom line, it’s illegal to drive without clear, frost free windows and apart from that it’s ridiculously dangerous. It’s not worth it.

“It costs enough to keep a car on the road too so wasting money on letting it idle to clear frost is not a good idea either.

“Make sure you either invest in things to help you prevent the frost getting to your car or take the time to clear it off properly before you set off.”


  • Petrol price over the past four years from
  • De-icing product prices taken from

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