How do I keep my windows from condensation buildup?
October 24, 2006 5:00 PM   Subscribe

How can I keep my car windows from being covered with condensation in the morning?

Every morning I go down to my car and it is covered with a thin layer of condensation. I can't see out of it.
I look at the other cars in my parking lot and some of them have this and some don't.
Why? Is there some kind of solution you can put on the windows to keep this from happening? Or should I just keep a towel in my car?
I live in rainy Portland Oregon...if that has any bearing on it.
posted by smithygreg to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe some cars are getting more sunlight earlier (i.e. are not in the shadow of a building)?

I worked at an auto dealership and for what it's worth I've never heard of any treatment to prevent condensation.
posted by brassafrax at 5:45 PM on October 24, 2006

Maybe Rain-X would work?
posted by smackfu at 6:13 PM on October 24, 2006

I also second Rain-X as a solution that would help out (and I live in Oregon). It never kept condensation from appearing on the windshield, but once I turned on my wiper blades it would get rid of water very quickly. Sometimes I didn't even need to turn on the blades as the motion of my car and the wind resistance actually cleared up the windshield.
posted by shoseph at 6:23 PM on October 24, 2006

Condensation occurs when air hits a surfac that's cold enough, relative to the air, to cause the water vapor to turn into liquid water. There are a few things you can do to address the problem:

1) Park in a garage. The temperature in a garage tends not to get as cold overnight, so you won't be likely to have condensation. Of course, this requires you to have a garage available.

2) Keep the car warm overnight, or at least in the early morning hours. A car heater that's on a timer might do the trick.

3) Keep a small squeegie handy in the car. It won't prevent the problem, but it'll give you a quick way to clear the water, and it'll be easier than a towel.
posted by gwenzel at 6:52 PM on October 24, 2006

Similar to Rain-X but (in my experience) longer lasting is Clarity Defender. Again, it probably won't stop the condensation, but the condensate will slide right off when the car begins to move.
posted by LeisureGuy at 7:13 PM on October 24, 2006

Put your car in a garage, or cover it with a cover that will hold some of the heat in
posted by caddis at 7:22 PM on October 24, 2006

You could move to a desert. ;-)
posted by salvia at 9:03 PM on October 24, 2006

I have lived in the desert. It happens there too as the temperature tends to plummet at night, but it goes away fast in the AM as the temperature spikes.
posted by caddis at 9:08 PM on October 24, 2006

This could be completely wrong, but I observed this happen once, so it might be worth a shot. One night, I left my windows cracked -- just barely -- and when I went back out (late at night, not in the morning), my car was the only one without condensation on it.

I haven't tried this again, mainly because I get up late enough where condensation isn't a problem so it's not worth it. But it did work that one time...
posted by SuperNova at 1:32 AM on October 25, 2006

Wow, I could have written this question! Happens to me all the time here in Seattle, and it's annoying. I'm impatient and groggy and need to go to the gym, so I keep a roll of paper towels in the car and quick wipe them down, though that is smeary.

I don't want to try the window open thing because that negates my alarm, and I don't have a garage. I've thought of a car tarp, but decided against it.

I have noticed that this does NOT happen to my husband's car. He pulls into our (small) driveway and faces his car West. I park on the street and face either North or South.

So if there's any way to try facing the car another way? Your parking lot may not allow this, of course.
posted by GaelFC at 10:22 AM on October 25, 2006

I get this in Seattle all the time now that it's autumn. I just keep a mini-squeegee in the car, and some paper towels.
posted by matildaben at 10:25 AM on October 25, 2006

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