Maintain Your Windshield to Navigate Low-Visibility Conditions
Vehicle windshields are at the mercy of the weather. Fog, dust, sand, and flying debris can cover windshields in messy coatings that limit drivers’ visibility. Windshields are also soiled inside by interior chemicals and coatings.
As autumn advances in Utah, be ready for storms and other low-visibility driving conditions by keeping your windshield in top shape. Here are some tips to help you see the road more clearly.
Clean the Outside Glass
You can see more clearly through clean glass. When you wash your car in autumn, pay particular attention to the window surfaces both inside and outside of the car.
Even a clean car can have windows with dirty films and coatings on the glass. Auto glass with dirty films and coatings may appear clean when wet. However, the same glass attracts water droplets, dust, and other debris as you’re driving down the road.
Unwanted coatings on exterior windows can include:
- Clear-coat finish from car washes
- Fine dust
- Mineral spots from rainwater
- Tree sap
Sometimes you have to take extreme measures to clean films and coatings that are stuck to windshields. Steel wool, compound putty, and polishing tools are used in severe cases. However, when attempting to remove stubborn windshield coatings yourself, take care not to crack the glass or weaken the windshield seal.
Take your vehicle to an auto detailer if you aren’t sure how to remove a sticky substance from your windshield. Most detail shops deal with problem windshields every day.
If your windshield is cracked, however, you would be better off replacing it now than paying to have it detailed. Windshield cracks will only get worse.
Clean the Inside Glass
A haze can develop on the interior side of your windshield too. Oils on your hands end up on the windshield as you reach for your sunglasses or wipe dust off the dash.
Interior fogginess is often caused by recirculating air inside the car. For example, if you and your friends are inside the car with windows rolled up, the humid air you exhale is trapped. Moisture from your lungs condenses on the glass around you.
Unless you bring in fresh, drier air by rolling down windows (or turning off the recirculate button on your AC system), the moisture from your breath will continue to bead up on the interior windows. You must remove the condensation with your defroster or a towel before you can drive.
Condensation can be made worse by chemical haze on interior windows. Smoke from cigarettes and cigars can coat the interior windshield. Chemicals are off-gassed inside vehicles on hot days and add to the interior film. New cars off-gas higher amounts of windshield-fogging vapors than older cars.
The following items can emit gases and affect your interior windshield:
- Hanging air fresheners
- Leather seating
- Plastic components
The sealant products you use to refresh and shine your dashboard can contaminate your windshield, too. Keep all vinyl protectants and other silicone-based products away from interior windows since these products create a hard film on glass.
Maintain Your Windshield Support
When traveling, keep your windshield accessories in good working order. Top off your windshield wiper fluid reservoir when you top off your gas. Replace worn windshield wipers with the best wipers you can afford.
One of the best ways to defog your windows is to run your defroster on high heat, roll the windows down a bit, and turn off the recirculate button. Since fog forms due to temperature disparities, your vehicle heater helps equalize the temperature and dry the glass surfaces of the windows.
Have your vehicle heater, blower, blower motor, and defroster checked if you have any problems with your heater, fan, or defroster. Keep emergency towels in your car to wipe away condensation in case your defroster fails.
Drive Carefully When Visibility’s Low
If you encounter foggy road conditions or a dust storm while driving, try to pull completely off the road until the situation passes. Don’t remain on the shoulder since other drivers may pull off and hit you in the low-visibility conditions. Pull completely into a parking lot or side street when possible.
In the case of sand or dust storms, don’t get out of your vehicle without airway and body protection from the harsh sand or dust. If you must continue driving in fog, dust, or sand storms, turn on your emergency flashers. Do not turn on your high-beams. Keep your headlights at the low-beam position.
Drive slowly, and give drivers ahead plenty of room. Avoid braking sharply. Clean your windshield completely after you make it through the storm so you’re ready for the next one.
If your windshield is scratched, pocked, or cracked, replace it now by contacting Central Glass Company today. We install clean, clear new windshields on vehicles in Salt Lake City, Midvale, West Valley, and Bountiful, Utah.