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How to Keep Your Windscreen in Good Condition

Throughout the year, your car windscreen can take some serious punishment from cold weather, gravel, and other debris. There are a number of things that you can do to ensure your windscreen remains in good condition throughout the year.

Firstly, from a safety point of view, it’s important to make sure that your windscreen is clean on both sides of the glass, as sunset and low light conditions (especially in winter) can cause significant visibility issues. This can make it difficult to see and create optical illusions such as light trails, which can be very dangerous.

In the winter, it is very common for people to pour boiling or very hot water onto icy windows in order to clear them. This is a very bad idea, as while the ice will undoubtedly melt quickly, the sudden change in temperature causes the material to expand and contract. As the cold glass comes into contact with the boiling water, the windscreen will expand very quickly, which can cause it to instantly shatter. Try using water that is near room temperature, or even regular tap water to help melt the ice if there is nothing else available. It’s also a good idea to keep a can of de-icer spray in your car for icy mornings during the colder months, along with a window scraper.

Windscreen Winter Conditions

It’s also important not to try and use the windscreen wipers to clear the ice. Extremely cold temperatures can cause wipers to freeze to the screen, sticking them fast. If the wiper motors are activated in this state, it can either cause the blades to rip, or in the worst-case scenario, cause significant damage to the wipers themselves. Make sure that the wipers are in the correct position when the car is parked; otherwise, when you turn the key in the morning, they could attempt to return to their original position, causing damage.

It’s also worth noting that engine antifreeze isn’t suitable for windscreens. It can cause damage to the glass and to the paintwork. It’s also one of the worst possible substances you can throw onto the road behind you; it’s much more slippery than oil for passing motorists or motorcyclists, and can cause potentially fatal accidents. Instead, use bespoke washer fluid, which is available with anti-freezing additives and is safe to use when you are on the road.

When there has been heavy snowfall, it is also important to get as much snow off the roof as possible. Otherwise, snow may slip forward the first time that you brake, obscuring or potentially completely blocking your view. It goes without saying that this could cause accidents – even if you do manage to brake safely, vehicles behind you may not be able to stop in time.

Finally, make sure to take good general care of your windscreen. Inspect it regularly for cracks and get them seen by a professional as soon as possible. These cracks or chips can quickly develop into a broken windscreen, requiring replacement. On new cars, this can cost as much as £500, whereas repairs can be much cheaper and aren’t usually subject to an insurance excess.