Automotive Maintenance Safety Tips for Safe Driving.
Dirty Smeared Windshield
Windshield Wiper and Glass Safety
One of the most critical areas of maintenance on the vehicles that we drive is poor windshield visibility. Lack of proper window and wiper maintenance can lead to a serious accident or injury. Here are some commonsense steps that you can take to improve your driving experience and safety,
Make sure your wiper blades are making proper contact with the windshield surface giving you maximum visibility essential for safe driving squeaking, streaking, and chattering are all signs that your wipers are not making proper contact with the glass.
Wipers should be replaced every 1-2 years depending upon how much you drive and use them worn out wipers can permanently scratch your windshield. Wipers I have a tough job they are subject to ultraviolet deterioration, cleaners, dry rot, tree sap and other environmental hazards. If you live in a region with lots of rain and snow then you'll probably have to replace them more often. Wipers should be inspected every six months checking for frame damage, corrosion, flexibility and visible cracks and tears.
Prepare to Clean Your Glass
This is one of my tried and true glass cleaning tips that I learned from over a 40 year career painted cars for a living. When I finished painting a car and pulled the tape and paper off small amounts of paint overspray would remain on the glass and chrome. One of the best ways I found to remove it was using very fine steel wool it will take just about anything off of glass and chrome.
If you have light windshield scratches these can be polished out using rubbing compound or a car wax cleaner that is mixture of polish and very fine abrasives.
Never clean glass in the hot sun clean your glass when it's under a shade tree or move the car into a garage.
Items to have on hand:
- 0000# super fine steel wool
- Denatured alcohol or Ammonia free Armor All auto glass cleaner
- Microfiber cloth
- Rain X
- Distilled Water
- First spray your windshield down with some ammonia free Armor All glass cleaner to loosen any dirt and grime off of the windshield using a preferred micro fiber cloth or cotton towel substitute.
- Next rub the entire windshield down with 0000# super fine steel wool. This will not scratch or damage the glass in any way. The steel wool will cut through and remove water spots, bugs, residues, paint, road tar stuck on the windshield.
- Spray windshield down again with glass cleaner, wipe clean again and let dry.
- Next apply a coating of Rain- X and let dry, then apply a second coat and let dry
- Finally wipe your windshield down with a clean cloth and distilled water dry with a clean cloth and admire the fantastic results.
How to Maintain Your Wipers
To begin always shut the wipers off before turning off your car off especially in the winter time. If you don't wipers will automatically start running the next time you start the vehicle. If the wipers are locked in place by snow and ice this will cause unnecessary wear on the wiper motor. On some vehicles the wiper motor is actually strong enough to break ice-locked wiper arms.
Apply a squirt of washer fluid whenever you turn on the wipers. The fluid not only cleans the windshield but it also provides some lubrication for the wipers, making them last longer. It's critical if you live in a hard freeze zone that you buy winterized wiper fluid to prevent the reservoir tank, pump and lines leading up to your spray nozzles from freezing. Check the fluid level in the tank every two weeks if you use the washer heavily. You can easily burn through a full tank of fluid if you are driving often on wet slushy highways with heavy traffic and road spray.
Clean your windshield wipers and glass with a soft clean cloth on a regular basis using denatured alcohol or ammonia free glass cleaner (ammonia can dry out wiper blades). Dirt and debris will build up over time on the wiper blades and windshield particularly near the bottom of the windshield where the wipers sit. Residues like salt, oil, road tar and a host of others pollutants can create glare on the windshield especially from streetlights and oncoming traffic when driving on dark wet roads at night.
In the wintertime start your engine and turn the heat control to defrost before you start the process of scraping your windshield. Do not run your wipers over frozen ice on the windshield. Give the defroster time to melt the ice on the windshield to help release and reduce damage to the wipers. If freezing weather is in the forecast, lift your wiper blades to the up position to keep them off of the windshield, this will give you easy access to scrape off the windshield and prolong the life of your wipers. Keep a spare pair of wiper blades or arm/blade combos new or used in your vehicle as a backup. If your vehicle has a small fluid reservoir consider carrying a container of fluid in your emergency kit. Deicer fluid is available in convenient spray bottles and will make quick work of tough frost or ice and is great for clearing tough areas like side mirrors.
Old fashion morning frost tip: if you know frost is likely cut an onion in half and rub it on your windshield the night before this will keep the frost from forming on your glass making it faster for you to get going down the road first thing in the morning. If you already have frost on the glass spray some denatured alcohol/rubbing alcohol on the glass this will dissolve it immediately. Another method to prevent icing on the windshield is to cut out a piece of cardboard large enough to cover your entire windshield making sure to secure so it won't blow off during the night. Commercial covers can also be bought.
Unfortunately, some folks have been known to pour hot water on their icy windshield in an attempt to speed up that de-icing process. This is not advisable you run the risk of shattering a perfectly good windshield or turning small stone chips into major cracks.