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Around the Toolmonger shop area we get about 2-4 inches of snow a year, so it’s a somewhat rare occurrence. On that day (which turned out to be yesterday), the general populace down here seemed to lose their collective minds. Folks up north have been buried in it for weeks, yet a little ice on the windshield and white flakes on the grass and it’s suddenly cause for wacky behavior. Fellow Southerners: Buy an ice scraper and suck it up; quit making us look bad.

I’m likely preaching to the choir here because almost anyone reading this would have it together enough to buy a scraper before it’s required and stow it where it needs to be — which may or may not be inside the iced-over auto in the driveway.

Up north they’re digging their cars out every hour and getting up 30 minutes early to warm the truck up. 98 cents for a basic scraper found at the local gas station in the autumn will stand you in good stead on the one or two days a year when it will be needed around here. Just sayin’.


22 Responses to Ice Scraper: Why You Should Have One

  1. Shawn says:

    If you live in the great white north like me (Nebraska), currently under 10 inches of snow, I would recommend a brass tipped scraper. The brass wont scratch your wind shield and is 100x better at removing ice especially the ice left over during a snow storm when your vehicle has been running and the wind shield is warm. Brass tipped with a brush is what I always use.

  2. Mac says:

    +1 on the brass scraper! Might even be 1000x better than the plastic ones.

  3. Dennis says:

    I can relate! People react the same way here in Southern California, only for us it’s with rain. As soon as it starts drizzling people freak out, drive slow, don’t pay attention, and generally make everything more hazardous than it should be. I swear if we were to actually get snow people’s brains would meltdown with incomprehension.

  4. A.Crush says:

    I kept my fancy black plastic scraper after moving from the North to the South, which has come in handy the few days there was ever snow or frost.

    I never knew about brass-tipped ones though. Have to look into getting one of those if they’re that much better and high quality.

  5. jeff_williams says:

    Hm, I’ve lived in MN my whole life and haven’t come across a brass one. I’ve been known to use a plastic card or CD case in a pinch.

  6. Gil says:

    I live in Florida… 🙁

  7. Toolhearty says:

    About those brass-edged scrapers…. No, they won’t scratch your windshield. Yes, they will scratch your side windows (different glass).

    – photos of my trucks side windows on request
    – still use my brass-edged scraper despite the above
    – haven’t seen one in stores for quite some time (got mine years ago)

  8. Toolhearty says:

    A brass scraper for readers of toolmonger:


  9. Hmm…at first I thought brass might be too soft to be effective on ice. When it gets below zero ice seems to get pretty hard. After some research, I found brass is 3.5 on the Mohs hardness scale and ice is 1.5.

    For reference, fingernails are 2.5, but from experience I wouldn’t recommend that method of ice removal 🙂

  10. Toolhearty says:

    Incidentally, the “ice” the scraper in the photo is being used on looks like “snow”. For this I use a push-broom.

    Frost in the morning can be of two types: The wimpy stuff that one can scape off in about 30 seconds, and the tenacious stuff that one has to lean on the scraper to get off.

    Don’t know what determines which it will be as it seems one can encounter either at the same temperature. Must be some combination wind, relative humidity, change in temperature, etc.

    The brass blade is nice for the tenacious stuff as it will flex a bit to conform to the surface of the windshield. Brass also won’t chip like a plastic blade does.

  11. IronHerder says:

    The first auto parts store that I patronized regularly kept a bucket of ice scrapers on the counter. The price was listed as 15 cents, or two for 35 cents. My guess is that anyone who didn’t do the math & bought two was offered other bargains as well.

    Now I have my own bucket of ice scrapers, because each vehicle in my iron herd came with one or two. And I never throw anything out. (Visit http://www.ibys.org/ for the other four Principles of Shed Science.)

    I suppose I’ll have to try the brass edged ones to test their effectiveness. Otherwise, I stick with plastic ones that I sharpen on any handy flat piece of pavement.


  12. Cameron Watt says:

    An old clear lens from your welding helmet does the trick nicely; the larger size is best.

  13. DoItRite says:

    Despite the photo above (that guy just got started), while you’re at it scrape the WHOLE windshield. Plus the side windows and the rear. Brush off the snow on top too or else it will soon slide down onto the windshield and then you won’t be able to see again.

    Seems like such a simple concept that it shouldn’t need to be stated. But I sure see a lot of people driving around with a scraped off section no larger than a frisbee. Talk about turning the car into a lethal weapon!

  14. JKB says:

    @DoItRite – sure it constricts the view but you get to pretend you’re conning a WWII Destroyer.

    We used to get 2-4 inches a year but so far it was 4 for Christmas and 7 last night (SE TN). Last night was dry and fuffy something I didn’t see growing up I was 25 in NY for training. Southern snow is usually more snow cone type.

  15. Discobubba says:

    @DoItRite- You’d think something like that’d be common sense, but as they say it’s just not as common as it used to be. It’s actually gotten to the point where it’s now a law (dunno about all states, but know around here it is) that your supposed to clear off your whole vehicle! Not only could that snow on top slide back onto your windshield, but could also fly off into someone elses’ if the wind catches it just right. Sometimes it’ll have that crust of ice, causing pretty nasty damage. IIRC I believe enough folks had such bad incidents that’s what prompted the law.

    Always have a scraper, or two, handy starting in the fall until spring. Along with other Winter accouterments for the trunk. Never seen brass tipped ones, but now really want one! Gone through breaking plenty of plastic ones. My weapon of choice is the broom style ones with the foldable swivel head/rubber scraper on one side and the plastic on the other which can telescope out.

  16. Stan says:

    52 years in Minnesota (northern) and eastern North Dakota, I only used the brass ones on the INSIDE of an air cooled VW Beetle. usually when the temp got to the -20 below zero range to keep the windshield clear. I use plastic, get in and start the Jeep, turn on defroster and rear defroster. Work my way from side windows to back then windshield. Don’t forget to knock the wipers free and the crush any heavy buildup on the blades or as soon as you you use them to things happen….nothing (frozen to the glass) or they ride on the ice and just smear. Be sure to clear signals and brake lights, it always helps if others know where you arer going.

  17. Chaim says:

    As a NYC resident who just went through a nice blizzard a couple of weeks ago (still have a four foot pile in front on the house), and expecting another foot or so tonight, I have three different scrapers that I keep handy. 1. short handle. 2. long handle with brush. 3. 5″ wide blade. All plastic.

    Unfortunately, I still haven’t found anything that works on stupidity, like when someone with a snow blower and throws a nice pile right on the windshield. Haven’t seen or heard of a brass bladed on before… lets see if it works.

    Wish me luck.

  18. Dan says:

    I’m with Discobubba on the telescoping broom style scrapers. They make it much easier to push all the snow off the top.

    I also buy a few cheap handheld ones when they go on clearance at the end of the season. I keep one in the glove box of each car as an emergency spare as well as in my desk at work. Since they were cheap I don’t mind giving them out to co-workers or others that got caught without one.

  19. jeff_williams says:

    I’m with discobubba and dan too. Telescoping broom style. The soft bristles help clear the snow without scratching the paint on the hood or roof. Just make sure you knock the snow off of it before putting back in the truck or the bristles will be a solid mass the next time you need them.

    I never thought I’d utter a phrase like “I’m with DiscoBubba”.

  20. Ben Granucci says:

    One more vote for the telescoping style. The length makes them quick for clearing off the ENTIRE car. The scraper end makes quick work of the hard stuff on the glass. The rubber blade is a great dozer for the heavy/deep/wet stuff that the brush just wants to glide over, while not scratching up the paint. The brush is ideal for the light stuff, or for cleaning up after the scraper, and is also helpful around small/narrow obstructions like wipers or washer nozzles.

    And please, clear off the entire vehicle! The only thing worse than being pelted with flying snowballs off of somebody else’s roof is being pelted with ice chunks after the snow has been sitting for a few days. Up here in the Northeast, I’ve heard of the cops pulling people over for “carrying an unsecured load,” though evidently they don’t pull over enough of them. And for those who think its just too had to clear off the roof of their SUV/Truck, get over it and see the above scraper recommendation.

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