By Darren Chang
Maintaining your windshield's clarity will ensure a crystal clear drive.
Just like your vehicle's paintwork, the windshield requires maintenance for optimal performance.
Oxidation, road debris and environmental contaminants create a build-up similar to a film over the windshield surface, resulting in poor clarity, reduced visibility during rain and optical flares when a car is driven past streetlights.
These issues can become quite a concern during thunderstorms which are common in our country.
While there are very advanced treatments available at our detailing facility, here's a few simple tricks that you can use right in the comfort of your own home.
The three major components for optimal windshield performance are as follows:
Windshields (both front and rear) are made up of tempered glass which is heated and hardened up to temperatures of over 800°C and then subjected to cooled air, a process which ensures that when a windshield breaks, it will do so in small pieces with less sharp edges.
Two sheets of glass are bonded onto a plastic layer during lamination for safety.
The surface of the outer sheet of glass is what gets contaminated when we drive our vehicles.
Acid-rain etching, tar, watermarks and oxidation can quickly degrade the performance of your windshield. This is what you can do to solve it.
Wash your vehicle for a start. Clay the surface of both the front and rear windshield with a clay-bar.
In fact, all glass panels should be clayed regularly.
This will result in a smooth surface. If you have watermarks etched onto the glass, use over-the-counter vinegar to gently remove the calcium deposits.
Short of using a rotary polisher to buff out the watermarks - that would be more appropriate for detailing enthusiasts - an alternative would be simply using a combination of vinegar and a green scouring pad which can yield fairly effective results. A more abrasive method would be to use a polish or a compound together with a green scouring pad.
After removal, wash the glass surface with a pH-balanced car shampoo and protect it with a synthetic sealant or a wax.
Depending on whether you use silicon or extruded rubber wiper blades, they should be inspected to see if the performance has degraded.
For rubber wiper blades which are usually the standard fitment to a car, try to have them replaced twice a year as our climate hardens the rubber compound, rendering them less effective.
When you wash your vehicle, clean the blades with a spare fabric soaked in detergent and apply a rubber conditioner or protectant to keep the compound flexible.
Windshield wiper fluid
The third but equally important component for improved windshield performance is the wiper fluid itself.
There are many brands of wiper fluid available in ready-to-use (RTU) form or concentrated at most major franchise hardware outlets.
These are formulated for easy removal of contaminants while driving. Be wary of the concentration used as an overly potent mix might also damage paintwork.
Fill up your wiper fluid tank with one of these windshield fluids and you'll see the dramatic difference it can make for your vehicle.
These simple steps will keep your driving visibility at its optimal performance especially during the rainy season.
Drive safe everyone!