Auto Service World
News   March 30, 2023   by Auto Service World Staff

Winter Windshield Care Tips You Need to Know


 

Harsh winter seasons can take a significant toll on your vehicle’s windshield. Your windshield is more prone to cracking during this cold season as the glass becomes more brittle. Even the smallest chip or crack can rapidly escalate into a larger issue, compromising your vehicle’s integrity and your safety. 

Cold weather tends to cause the glass, including vehicle windshields and home windows, to contract and expand due to thermal stress. This can exacerbate existing issues, such as chips or cracks, worsening the damage. 

Additionally, the metal frames of your windshield may also begin to warp as a result of thermal stress, leading to potential seal failure, moisture leakage, and clouded panes that obstruct visibility.

To prevent your windshield from getting damaged, here are some helpful winter car maintenance tips:

1.Regularly Clean and Inspect Your Windshield 

One of the most important tips that auto glass experts will tell you is to never skip on cleaning and inspecting your windshield. Proactive maintenance can significantly reduce your chances of encountering unexpected visibility issues while driving, compromising your vehicle’s structural integrity, and incurring costly repairs.

How to Clean Your Windshield 

Before cleaning your windshield, make sure to properly warm it with your car’s defroster, especially if you’re opting for steam cleaning to avoid thermal shock. This can make the cleaning process a lot easier. 

Make sure that you are using the right fluid as well. Use winter-grade washer fluid that has de-icing properties, as this type of fluid helps melt ice and snow. 

As your vehicle and windshield begin to warm, use a plastic ice scraper to remove ice from the glass carefully. To remove snow, use a soft-bristled brush to brush away snow from the windshield and other windows, ensuring not to scratch the glass. 

Make sure to apply a winter-grade windshield washer fluid formulated for cold temperatures along with your windshield wipers to help dissolve any remaining ice or stubborn dirt.

Utilize your windshield wipers to remove all the debris and fluid from the windshield, and adjust the speed accordingly. Do not use hot water or metal tools. Repeat the application of washer fluid and use of the wipers until the windshield is clear and streak-free.

Properly Inspect Your Windshield 

After thoroughly cleaning your windshield, make sure that you properly inspect it as well. It’s ideal to do this during the day in order to see all of the small cracks, chips, or signs of pitting. Check the edges of the windshield; cracks can quickly spread from this area. 

Look for any areas where the glass may appear foggy or where condensation isn’t clearing properly, as this could indicate a seal failure. Small chips or cracks less than the size of a quarter can often be repaired, but larger or spiderwebbed damage typically requires windshield replacement.

Once you find any signs of pitting, chips, or cracks, regardless of how small they are, get your windshield repaired immediately to avoid costly replacements and dangerous driving conditions. 

2. Windshield Wipers: Your First Line of Defense

Your windshield wipers are just as important as any other part of your vehicle. They free up your windshield from dirt and debris that can get in the way of your vision. However, the cold winter season can also cause damage to your windshield wipers as the rubber blades can become brittle and less effective. 

The icy conditions and low temperatures can cause the rubber to harden, leading to streaks or even scratches on your windshield. To mitigate this issue, consider the following steps:

  • Regularly clean and inspect your wipers. Check for any signs of cracking or hardening. To properly clean your windshield wiper, use a soft cloth dampened with windshield washer fluid or a mild detergent to clean the blades. 
  • Switch to winter wiper blades to avoid freezing issues. Their special design, featuring a protective rubber boot, stops ice and snow from clogging.
  • Apply a water-repellent solution to keep your windshield clear. It prevents ice and snow from sticking, making it easier for your wipers to maintain a clean sweep.
  • Replace your wipers if they leave streaks or struggle to clean your windshield, ensuring clear driver vision.

3. Avoid Using Hot Water & Use the Right Tools to Scrape Off the Ice

If you see a thick layer of frost enveloping your vehicle’s windshield, as well as the side and rear windows, avoid pouring boiling hot water on them. Although it can be tempting, it’s best to avoid pouring hot water as this can cause a rapid temperature change and potentially crack the glass. 

To avoid this, you should use tools such as ice scrapers specifically made to remove snow. Pair these with a de-icing solution or a homemade mixture of water and vinegar in a spray bottle. The solution can help loosen the ice, making it easier for the scraper to remove without damaging the glass. Remember to gently scrape in a horizontal motion to clear the ice efficiently.

4. Use the Right Windshield Washer Fluid 

Car owners often struggle with keeping their windshields clear especially during the winter season. It’s because standard washer fluids aren’t cut out for winter’s chill since they often freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Replacing your regular washer fluid with windshield wiper fluid for winter is the best option. 

Winter windshield washer fluids often contain an antifreeze agent, such as methanol or ethylene glycol, which prevents the fluid from freezing in cold temperatures. This type of washer fluid is essential for maintaining clear visibility during winter driving conditions, as it effectively removes snow, ice, and road salt from your windshield. 

Additionally, many winter fluids come with added detergents and water-repellent properties, improving your visibility in adverse weather by cutting through grime and repelling rain and sleet. 

Conclusion:

Taking extra care of your windshield becomes not just a matter of convenience but of safety during the winter season. The harsh conditions brought by cold weather, including snow, ice, and sleet, can significantly reduce visibility if your windshield isn’t properly maintained. 

A well-kept windshield ensures that you have the best possible view of the road, which is crucial for navigating safely through winter’s unpredictable weather.