Winter may be more than half over on the calendar but there will be plenty of snow to brush and ice to scrape yet.
One of the “joys” Canadian drivers face while coping with winter’s grip is the task of clearing snow from their vehicles before they venture out onto the road. It’s not only a wise move, it’s the law. Drivers need to be sure all the vehicle’s windows are clear and snow that’s accumulated on the hood, roof and rear deck has been cleared as well.
Typically, the tool of choice for this job is the traditional snow brush – plastic bristles on one end of a wooden stick and a scraper on the other. It’s a basic design that has remained unchanged for decades, but now, a Canadian firm has a better idea.
Garant is a Quebec-based company that’s been manufacturing construction, garden and snow removal tools for 120 years. Its team of product developers has created what is described as a “scratch-free snow brush.”
Instead of bristles, the Garant brush uses a multi-layer, uniquely shaped pad of durable EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam, a material that’s commonly used in commercial car wash brushes.
The firm says the foam pad won’t freeze, clog with snow, wear down or scratch vehicle surfaces. In fact, the material was subjected to side-by-side tests with a traditional bristle brush in which each implement scraped a painted metal sheet 10,000 times. The EVA material left the surface unmarred while the bristle brush created noticeable scratches.
The foam brush was actually introduced a year ago and its design resembled the traditional snow brush. We tested it then. Now, in response to consumer feedback, a more advanced version has been developed featuring a telescopic, elliptical-shaped aluminum handle that extends from 91 to 132 centimetres (36 to 52 inches.)
The head is a swivel design that can be rotated 180 degrees, making it ideal for pushing or pulling snow off a vehicle. Both the swivel head and the telescopic function are controlled by large pushbuttons.
The other end of the tool has a cold-resistant, polycarbonate scraper with one edge lined with teeth for breaking up ice plus a straight edge for clearing it away. The aluminum handle has a foam grip midway along its length that ensures a firm, comfortable grip.
I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical about the foam brush’s capabilities when dealing with heavy snow accumulations. I happen to live in an area where we get abnormally high snowfall, so it’s not uncommon to have significant snow buildup on my vehicle. Using it as a pusher, I was impressed to discover the Garant brush easily coped with the challenge.
Even more impressive was the fact it readily removed an underlying hard crust of frozen rain after one particularly nasty storm. With the handle fully extended, I could easily reach across the entire width of the car to clear the roof, hood and decklid, as well as the front and rear windows. The large pushbutton was easily activated, even though I was wearing heavy gloves.
One bonus I noticed with the foam head, aside from the fact it didn’t clog up with snow, was the clean surface it left behind on the glass. It was almost like I’d used a squeegee instead of a snow brush.
A quick click of the pushbuttons and the head was rotated to the conventional brush position and the handle was retracted to the shorter length so I could tackle the side windows. Here, too, the results were ideal.
The only shortcoming I found with the foam brush is that it doesn’t work well on contoured surfaces, such as headlights and taillights, or recessed door handles. I found I still needed to break out a bristle brush to clear those surfaces.
It should also be noted that while the foam brush does live up to its billing as being scratch free, you will still scratch paint surfaces if there’s sand, salt granules or other sharp materials buried in the snow buildup. The foam won’t scratch the paint, but the materials it’s moving might cause damage, so be aware.
Overall, this latest version of the Garant foam snow brush is an excellent product and so far has proven to be capable of tackling the heaviest snow accumulations without a problem.
Swivel the head and it’s an ideal snow pusher; twist it back and it functions well as a conventional brush. The dual-edge scraper also works well on ice buildup. When you’re finished, the tool retracts for convenient storage. It’s certainly a product to consider if you’re looking for a new snow brush.