Car Windows Fogging Up Outside

Fogged-up windows are annoying, and they’re potentially dangerous because they essentially put a blindfold on your windshield. It’s a problem most of us forget about in the summer, but we’re reminded of it when the temperatures begin to drop, there are several reasons why car windows and windshields might fog up and, again, it’s all dependent on the weather conditions.

On a cold day, any moisture in the air inside your car — from passengers exhaling, from snow on your boots, etc. — turns to condensation when it hits air next to the windows that’s below a certain temperature, called the dew point. The condensation is what makes your car’s windows appear foggy. On a hot, humid day, the opposite happens, when the muggy air outside your car reaches the dew point against your windshield after it’s cooled by your AC system.

Whether the fog is on the inside or the outside of your windows, any time you can’t see clearly in all directions, it’s dangerous. So, it’s important to know how to make sure your windows are clear — no matter the weather.

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How to remove Car Windows Fogging up Outside

When the temperature and moisture level outside are greater than inside the car, moisture will condense on the exterior of the car glass. In this situation, the trick is to increase the temperature on the inside of the car to accumulate less moisture on the outside. Keep the following tips in mind:

Car Windows Fogging Up Outside

  • For a quick fix: Use your windshield wipers. This will help get rid of the condensation until you’ve balanced out the temperature.
  • Warm up your car: Turn down the AC to the lowest (least-cool) setting to increase the temperature without it becoming too uncomfortable. If this doesn’t work, turn the AC off completely.
  • Leave recirculation off: As stated above, it’s a good idea to turn off your car’s recirculation feature to battle foggy windows, so the temperature and moisture levels in your car begin to equalize with those outside.

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How to remove Car Windows Fogging up inside

If your windows fog up from the inside, don’t panic! Here are a few basic and easy steps that can help you defog your windows safely and while on the go.

  • At first, it might seem like a good idea to simply wipe the condensation off your car windows with your bare hands. While you can do that as a temporary measure just to be able to see again, particularly in front of you on the windshield, we don’t recommend you do that.
  • Wiping a foggy window with your bare hands can actually worsen the situation by smearing whatever contaminants are caught on your hand, such as skin oils and other dirt. When the condensation returns, it will be harder to see than prior to wiping it with your hand. Here’s what you should do instead.

Car Windows Fogging Up Outside

  • Whether it be in the dead of winter when it’s cold outside or in the heat of the summer, your car’s air conditioner does more than just cool the interior air. It doubles as a dehumidifier. On most new cars, interior HVAC systems with an “automatic” function typically keep the AC compressor on by default for the most optimal interior comfort. That said, just enable the window “defroster” mode, as depicted by the icon below. If you don’t have automatic climate control, make sure the AC compressor is engaged by pressing the button or flicking the switch on your center console with “AC” labeled on it until it’s indicated as on. The “defroster” mode sets the blower fan to its max setting, vents actuate to channel the airflow to the outlets on the dashboard, aimed toward your windshield.

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