(WMC-TV) - ANDY, WILL IT WORK? Rain-X Heavy-Duty De-Icer = DON'TBUY (except as a pre-treatment!)
Right off the windshield, let me say this: we are not saying Rain-X Heavy-Duty De-Icer will not work.
We're saying it's simply not necessary on an iced windshield as long as you have a decent ice scraper.
I am a believer in Rain-X products. I have tested its windshield water-proofing treatment, as well as its water-repelling wipers. Both performed amazingly.
That's why I chose Rain-X's Heavy Duty De-Icer for this test. It claims to "...remove light snow and ice" at temperatures as low as -25 F.
Although it's marketed to keep in your windshield washer fluid reservoir, its developer said it could also be poured into a squirt bottle – undiluted – and applied directly to iced windshields.
The trick is to see if the de-icer makes it easier to scrape the ice off as opposed to using an ice scraper by itself.
We did just that, with two vehicles. Both had been sitting outside for the duration of our recent winter storm. Both, frozen solid.
On the first car, we cleared all the snow from the windshield to reveal just the sheet of ice. We sprayed one half of the iced windshield with Rain-X Heavy Duty De-Icer – soaking it – and left the other half untreated. With a standard ice scraper, I scraped both sides. Each side's ice scraped off just as easily as the other's.
On the second car, we did the same thing, except we turned on the vehicle's defroster. Same thing: each side's ice scraped off just as easily as the other's. We also operated the wipers on this vehicle to see if we noticed any difference visually in terms of streaking or sheeting action.
Ron Fausnight, group technical manager for Rain-X's developer ITW Global Brands, said the de-icer can definitely be sprayed directly on iced windshields, but he said it's better as a pre-treatment.
"If the windshield is pre-treated, our de-icer will make it easier to remove the ice," Fausnight said. "If the ice is thicker, you may need to apply a lot of it. It will eventually remove the ice, but it will take more of the product."
Let me be clear: we are not failing Rain-X Heavy Duty De-Icer based on these results. We are suggesting that as a treatment of frozen windshields, it's not necessary: some good elbow grease with a durable ice scraper will do the trick.