When you’re behind the wheel you are never safe if you cannot see – that’s why windshield care is especially important for winter driving. If you’re like most Madison WI area drivers you understand the perils of snow, freezing rain and ice. The elements make seeing difficult during the day and nearly impossible at night. In addition slush on the roads splattering on the windshield provides a coating of grime. There’s nothing neat and clean about driving in winter.
Staying safe on local roads is easier with a clear, sturdy windshield. Keeping the windshield clean is a challenge. Making sure it is solid – no cracks or chips – is a must.
Winter Windshield Care – The Basics
Hopefully you’ve already equipped your vehicle with a good scraper and brush. If not, do it ASAP. Is there anything worse than getting caught scraping with something like a credit card? Being prepared includes:
- Using a good scraper – keep a scraper or two in your vehicle. If you have an SUV make sure one is long enough to reach the middle of the windshield. Consider using a long-handled version for hard to reach spots and a short one for applying pressure to thicker ice. Don’t neglect side and rear windows — 360° visibility is vital.
- Protect windshield wipers – when you must leave your car outside in snow or freezing conditions prop them into an “open” position not resting on the glass. Put distance between them and the freezing surface protects them from freezing down. Prying them loose can damage the blades. Never use you wipers as scrapers. They are not designed to chip away ice.
- Inspect for cracks and chips – According to an automotive industry research association a minor windshield chip is 60% more likely to become a serious crack at or below 32° and 80% more likely at 14° and colder.
- Make windshield repairs now – repairing small chips is easy and less costly (often 100% covered by insurance with no deductible) than taking care of major cracks. Taking time now to attend to a chip makes more sense than spending a lot on a new windshield in a month or so doesn’t it?
- Apply windshield treatment – Aquapel, a patented glass treatment available from AutoColor, repels water. Applied professionally you can expect it to last up to 6 months. Water beads up and wiper blades get right to the glass surface. It protects windshield glass from salt residue and reduces the glare at night.
Not All Windshield Wiper Blades Are Alike
Windshield wiper blades come in different lengths to fit different vehicles. In addition, they come in various shapes and configurations. There are summer blades and winter blades. A wiper blade specifically engineered to handle snow makes sense for Madison, for sure!
You assignment is simple – make sure your windshield care includes wiper blades in good condition. Check them often – don’t wait until you see a loose piece of rubber flapping around. There’s nothing more dangerous than trying to see what’s ahead through smears and streaks or sludge and salt grime. A full reservoir of washer fluid isn’t much help if wipers fail.
There are two basic wiper blade designs: the beam and the conventional frame-type. The frame style has been around for decades. You’ll recognize its steel framework with “claws” to hold the blade in place. Pivot points and joints allow it to follow the windshield’s contour and apply even pressure. Suited for warm weather it has drawbacks in winter, including:
- Its open framework gets clogged with snow and ice.
- When clogged it cannot maintain even pressure.
- Frame-type wipers a prone to bouncing or “chattering” on cold days, especially at higher speeds.
Windshield wiper makers developed the beam-style blade to deal with ice and snow jams. Some have covers over the traditional metal structure so ice and snow cannot build up. The covers are aerodynamic so wipers can’t lift off the glass. Other beam designs do not have the metal framework, using a flat piece of spring steel instead. Consider beam blades for:
- Uniform pressure across the windshield.
- Low, aerodynamic profiles – including a “spoiler.”
- Often coated with Teflon or graphite to slip easier.
- Low temperature-tested rubber compounds.
Beam-type wipers are standard on many late model vehicles.
Clean Windshield Inside And Outside
When the squeegee portion of a wiper blade – the edge right on the glass – is damaged, you’ll see it quickly. Car care professionals recommend you don’t wait that long. You’ll notice it at the worst possible time – in a blizzard or when the truck ahead hits a pot hole full of sludge! Are you willing to risk your family safety?
It may sound like an inconvenience but professionals say you should replace windshield wiper blades every six month whether you see damage or not. Why?
Dirt and road grime builds up on your windshield. It works on the rubber surface just like very fine sandpaper. Over time it grinds away small divots in the edge. You probably cannot see them until they tear. Even the highest grade rubber wears from heat and the sun’s UV rays. Again, you cannot see the damage until it is too late.
Windshield maintenance isn’t limited to the outside. Does the inside look foggy when you drive into the sun? A thin film builds on the inside of the windshield. It’s the accumulation of oil from finger smudges, pollutants and gas escaping from the vinyl inside the car.
Use a micro-fiber cloth to clean the inside glass – check out one of the handy long-handled tools available just for this chore.
Call On Professionals For Windshield Care
AutoColor’s experienced body shop professionals are ready to protect your car, truck and SUV with the latest technology. When your windshield glass or windshield wipers need attention, we’ve got everything it takes to get you back on the road. And an application of Aquapel helps protect you as you travel. Call or stop into one of our local shops: in Middleton on Parmenter Road or on Madison’s East Side on Stoughton Road near Buckeye. More than ever, in winter little things matter. From paintless dent repairs to high-tech wiper blades AutoColor is at your service for windshield car and auto body repair in the Madison WI area.