Looking After Your Car Windscreen

Jack Dreyer | Thursday 24th March 2022 2:41pm

Cracked car windscreen

Ah, the humble windscreen. A part of the car that has been looked through without being looked at for decades.

Protecting drivers from the wind and the rain while allowing for maximum visibility on the road, laminated glass windscreens are an essential car component. With that being said, the nationís windscreens often face neglect and are left unwashed, chipped, cracked, or obstructed.

If you, like so many others, canít remember the last time you gave your windscreen some TLC, read on to learn Kwik Fitís best tips and tricks for windscreen maintenance.

How to clean your car windscreen

One of the easiest ways to keep on top of your windscreen maintenance is to implement a regular cleaning schedule. Whenever you clean your car, make work on the windscreen a priority. Dedicating even just 5 minutes a week to wiping down your windscreen can make all the difference. And, who knows, during these maintenance periods you might notice chips that would have otherwise gone unnoticed and could have caused damage.

For a reliable and relatively easy windscreen cleaning routine, follow the advice below.

Prepare the windscreen

Before you begin, gently lift up your windscreen wipers so they no longer touch the glass. You can deal with them later by using our handy wiper maintenance guide.

Next, remove any leaf litter or debris that might be lurking around the base of the windscreen, stuck by the wipers. Use a dry cloth or soft brush to move away the cobwebs or dust that may be hidden there, especially if your car has been sitting for a long time.

Get the windscreen wet

Using a soft setting on your hosepipe, or a bucket of water, give the windscreen a once over with some water.

After this, add some car-friendly soap to a bucket of warm water and use a sponge to massage the windscreen ó donít apply too much pressure, mind! If the road dust isnít wiping away with a sponge and warm water, use a soft-bristled brush to lightly scrub the area.

In order to avoid any soap suds being left behind and causing streaks, add another slosh of cold, fresh water over the windscreen when the sponging is done.

Dry and apply the class cleaner

When rinsed, let the excess water drain off and dry with a microfibre cloth, not waiting too long or you will see residue marks begin to appear.

Next, get your hands on some glass cleaner. Your best bet is to purchase an alcohol-based cleaner, avoiding ammonia-based alternatives which can cause damage. These can be bought from almost all reputable supermarkets and motor accessory retailers.

When applying glass cleaner, it is best to work on your windscreen in two halves, especially if you have a large bonnet that is difficult to reach across.

Generously spray the screen, starting from the top so the product has a chance to run down. Then, wipe with a cloth in long, smooth strokes to prevent streakiness.

Clean and replace the wipers

Once the windscreen is looking shiny and new, itís time to lay the wipers back down. But not before giving them the attention they need. Find out exactly how to take care of your windscreen wipers on our wiper maintenance page.

Cleaning the inside of your windscreen

At this point, many drivers would call it a day. However, the job is only half done. When cleaning your windows at home, do you just polish one side? Of course not, you do inside and out ó and itís no different with the windscreen.

When cleaning the inside of your car, remove any obstructions from the dash (litter, papers, even old tax discs). Then take a hoover to the dash, especially the place where the windscreen meets the dash where dust settles.

Using a damp cloth, wipe down the inside of the windscreen. Then apply the glass cleaner (again in halves) and polish gently in long strokes.

Tip: Apply the glass cleaner directly onto the cloth instead of the windscreen otherwise it will drip onto your dash!

Take a closer look

Now that youíve polished your windscreen to within an inch of its life, take the opportunity to inspect it for cracks or chips. Scratches can be caused by a multitude of things such as faulty ice scrapers, broken windscreen wiper blades, branches, and road debris.

How to remove scratches on your windscreen

Scratches can obscure a driverís vision and easily develop into chips and dangerous cracks. So, it is important that any damage to your windscreen ó however minor ó is addressed as soon as it is detected.

While chips and large-scale cracks should be taken to the professionals quickly, you can buff out scratches and cosmetic details yourself. There are plenty of tried and tested methods for removing scratches from your windscreen. So, browse through the following and see which best works for you.

What are windscreens made of?

In order to know how to deal with scratches, it is important to understand the makeup of a windscreen.

Windscreens are made from three layers of laminated glass ó two glass sheets on either side of a vinyl layer. These three sections are pushed together with extreme heat and pressure in something called an autoclave oven.

Because of the way windscreens are made, whenever a windscreen is scratched, it is usually only the outermost layer that sustains damage. As a result, most scratches can be repaired simply without the need for a complete windscreen replacement!

Removing scratches

First of all, you can invest in a glass repair kit. Available online or in most car parts stores, glass repair kits can help amend moderate to large scratches. Usually, you need to apply a rubbing compound to the area which chemically reacts with the glass and seals the crack. After about half an hour this compound should dry and will fix the issue.

Other alternatives include using a layer of clear nail polish or non-gel toothpaste and leaving to dry if you donít have any other materials. In most cases, though, it is better to use the proper kit.

Things like acrylic scratch remover are ideal as they work quickly and are relatively mess free. Simply apply a few drops of the remover onto the cloth, rub over the scratch and let sit for 20-30 mins. Like the glass repair kit, the remover will chemically react with the glass to fix the scratch.

Similarly, a decent glass scrub compound is excellent for removing stubborn grime and smoothing over scratches. Acting a bit like an exfoliant, it levels off the glass area around the scratch and hides the damage well. When using this scrub, apply it to a cloth, scrub gently in circular motions and regularly add water to lubricate the cloth.

Windscreen fluid

Lastly, itís important to remember that when it comes to windscreens, fluid is your best friend. If your windscreen fluid is not topped up regularly, it can dry out, leaving your windscreen wipers without lubrication.

Dry windscreen wipers can cause friction with the windscreen and may drag bits of grit and dust across the screen, causing scratches to appear.

So, be kind to your windscreen and give it a clean and keep that fluid topped up.

Putting all of the above together should enable you to keep your windscreen looking fresh and clean. If you have any other questions about the condition of your vehicle, its wipers, or tyres, get in touch with the experts at your local Kwik Fit.

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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