What's the verdict on do-it-yourself rear defrosters?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

I own a 1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse. I bought the car from a friend who had been living in Georgia, and took it with me when I moved to New York. The problem is that the car has no rear defroster. I guess that wasn't a problem in Georgia, but it is here in the frozen north. I've made it through one winter without it, but I don't really want to do that again, since it wasn't very safe. What are my options? Diane

RAY: Well, Diane, this is a classic case in which you have two options. You can do it cheaply, or you can do it right. Because of his wide-ranging expertise in this area, I'll let my brother go over the cheap solution.

TOM: It's worth a try, Diane. There are kits for do-it-yourself rear defrosters. They consist of a large, rectangular, almost see-through piece of very sticky plastic with the rear defroster wires built right in. All you do is wire it up, remove the backing, and slap it on your rear window.

RAY: And you have about a one in 100 chance of getting it on straight without crinkling it up. Besides, this car has such a long, sloping rear window, that you'd probably need two of these defrosters, which would mean your chances of getting it right would be about one in 10,000!

TOM: But it's worth a try, Diane, because if it works, you're all set. And if it doesn't, you haven't lost much. In order to get a real defroster, you have to replace the rear window anyway. That's going to cost you several hundred bucks, so you might as well try the cheap solution first.

RAY: Of course, in New York, there are other ways to get a new rear window. You could just wait for an "accident" to happen. You could put a sign in the car that says "great stereo inside, please use rear entrance."

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