Driving a new car is an exhilarating experience and the scenery, storefronts, and pedestrians look great through your new windows. Over the next weeks, months, and years, however, the scenery doesn’t look quite as sharp. The sun catches and reflects off spots on the windshield and everything has a slightly hazy appearance.
Car windows need to be taken care of just like all other parts of your car. It’s more than just window cleaning, though, that's important. Sap, stone chips, and scratches make the crystal clear windows less than perfect. Here are five tips for taking care of your car windows:
Windows need regular cleaning. It isn’t just bugs and dirt that stick to your windows. Tree sap, hard water spots, and bird droppings cling to the glass. Even when it looks like all the obstructions are gone, there can still be a sparkling glint on the windshield. Whenever you thoroughly detail your car (which should be about once a month to stay on top of it), clean your windows inside and out with a high quality glass cleaner. Products like Invisible Glass are extremely efficient at removing the stuck-on bits and restoring your windows’ clarity. Clean both the inside and outside of all the windows.
Replace your wiper blades. Wipers are notorious for wearing out or tearing with minimal cause. Torn wiper blades don’t just leave streaks of uncleared window - the metal strips that hold the wiper blades rigid can come loose and contact the windshield and make fine scratches that won’t ever go away. The only solution is windshield replacement. Replace your wiper blades when you notice the first bit of loose rubber or streaks on the windshield.
Keep your distance from traffic in front of you. As you drive on the highway or on less-refined gravel roads, keep your distance from the vehicle in front of you. That vehicle’s tires are kicking up small pebbles and gravel, and tossing them back toward your car. Those little stones don’t just chip up the paint on your hood and grille. They also cause fine chips in your windshield glass. What you will see over time is a glimmer off the stone rash on your windshield that is particularly distracting when the sun shines directly on it. Again, the only cure is a windshield replacement.
Have stone chips repaired right away. Large stone chips can happen when a stone, large or small, impacts your window. A tiny bit of glass is smashed out and a small crater is left in the windshield, or a tiny pocket of air forms between the layers of glass. If left unaddressed, this small stone chip can crack and spread, and your windshield will need to be replaced instead of repaired. Many glass repair shops perform glass chip repairs free with most insurance policies, and glass repairs are rather expensive if you don’t have the right coverage. A chip repair is much more cost effective than a windshield replacement.
Avoid parking in direct sunlight wherever possible. It's unavoidable much of the time, but if the option to park in the shade is available, take it. Direct sunlight will weaken the glass with the heat produced, and shorten the windshield’s life. Also, chips and cracks can quickly spread with a rapid temperature change such as being in the direct sunlight.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as 5 Tips for Taking Care of Your Car Windows and was authored by Jason Unrau.