Car care tips – how to clean a windscreen for your optimum visibility
In the following article, we’re going to look at the best ways to take care of your car windscreen—inside and out.
As well as washing and polishing the glass, we’re going to look into how to change windscreen wipers, how to demist a windscreen and how much any repairs might cost.
If you’ve noticed a crack or a chip we’ll discuss ‘how much to replace a windscreen’ and alternatively, ‘how much to repair a windscreen chip’.
It’s quite often one of the more taken for granted elements of a car. Yet, if we make a little extra effort, it can significantly improve the quality of the driving experience.
How to clean a car windscreen
Washing your car windscreen:
- For a really dirty windscreen, give it a good soaking and a scrub with hot water and a soft brush. Car shampoo should do the trick, but hot water is usually more than enough. It’s the polishing that counts.
- Allow the glass to dry completely before any polishing begins.
Polishing your car windscreen:
According to the senior technician at Autoglass, and he should know, the best way is to use an alcohol-based glass cleaner and a couple of top-quality, lint-free, micro-fibre cloths.
- Lift the windscreen wipers away from the glass to give yourself the easiest access to every inch.
- Spray the glass with the cleaner, ensuring that the entire surface of the window is covered.
- With your first cloth, wipe the windscreen in vertical strokes.
- Once you’ve covered the whole window, stick with the same cloth and wipe the windscreen over again but this time in horizontal strokes.
- With the windscreen wipers still raised from the glass, spray the blades with the glass cleaner. Wipe them downwards to remove any dirt and grime that has gathered in the grooves of the rubber.
- Take the second cloth and buff the windscreen using small circular motions.
How to clean inside your car windscreen
To polish the inside of your windscreen takes a slightly different approach:
- To avoid overspray from contaminating the dashboard and surrounding areas, rub the inside of the windscreen in circular motions until you’ve covered every inch.
- Flip the cloth over to find a clean patch and repeat using vertical strokes.
- Using a different cloth, apply rubbing alcohol over the windscreen in circular strokes.
- Once that’s done, apply your original glass cleaning spray directly to your cloth. Repeat first with the vertical strokes and then with the horizontal strokes as you did on the exterior.
You should now have the perfect clean windscreen.
To protect your lovingly cleaned windscreen, you can buy a water-resistant windscreen protector that applies a thin film to repel water. Give one a try. It’ll extend the time you have to wait between washes and polishes.
How to fit windscreen wipers
Old worn out wiper blades will significantly reduce your vision when driving in the rain, or by making a poor job of clearing your windscreen.
At the first instance you notice old blades performing less than well, it’s time to have them replaced.
How much do new windscreen wiper blades cost?
A pair of windscreen wiper blades can cost between £15 and £40 for a typical family car. Depending on the size, fit, make, and model, the variation can be quite surprising. The typical average, if we’re throwing a ballpark estimate around, is probably about £25.
How do you replace wiper blades?
- Lift the wipers away from the car windscreen. You’ll want as much access as possible to make the change.
- If there’s a locking tab or button, press it to release the wiper.
- Slide the wiper out while holding the arm in place. If the wiper arm is knocked or tries to snap back into place, the unprotected metal could chip or crack the glass.
- Slide the new wiper into place in reverse of how the old one came out.
- Feel for it to snap into place, or use the locking tab or button where available. Make sure it’s sat firmly in position before lowering the wiper back to the glass.
How much does it cost to replace a windscreen?
So, the big question; how much is a new windscreen? Replacing a windscreen can cost anywhere upwards of £150. The bigger the window and the more luxurious the car, the more you’ll pay. Prices can reach as high as £400–£500 for higher-end vehicles with plenty of glass.
Repairing your windscreen cracks and chips
Windscreen crack repair
Depending on where the crack is, you may not be able to have it repaired at all.
Any crack within 3cm of the edge of the windscreen can’t be repaired. You’ll have to have it replaced.
A chip in the driver’s line of sight can’t be bigger than 10mm. If so, once again, it means a new windscreen. The driver’s line of sight is considered to be an area of 30cm around their eye line.
Windscreen chip repair
As small and unimportant as a windscreen chip may seem, they should demand your immediate attention. A small chip can easily grow into a crack with the slightest bump while driving, and a crack can grow to a size that isn’t suitable for repair with another similar bump.
So, from a tiny chip, you’ve now got to replace your windscreen. Windscreen chips and cracks can cost around £150–£200 to repair, but with many car insurance policies, they are often free and don’t impact your no claims bonus or your excess.
It’s worth looking into the repair costs before you’re forced into shelling out for a complete new windscreen.
Glass protection is definitely a worthwhile extra to consider when you’re looking into car insurance. If it isn’t already included as standard, check the costs and terms and conditions to add it to your policy. For a few extra pounds, it could save you a small fortune.
How to demist a windscreen
Your windscreen will have a demist setting on the heater. The cleanest way to demist your windows while avoiding streaks from wiping with cloths, towels or squeegees is using your demister.
Here are a few tips to get those moisture-ridden screens cleared in double-quick time.
- Start the heater on cold and then increase it to hot as the air dries out.
The air in your cold car is full of moisture. The heater will be adding humidity as it blows in more moist air. As the air dries, build up the heating and find the perfect balance until your glass is clear and ready to go.
- Use your air-conditioning.
Your air-con will help stop the air from creating further condensation as the hot air from your heater cools down.
- If you’ve got climate control—use it!
Your climate control will more than likely feature a demist setting. So, if you’ve got it, use it, especially in those damp winter months.
- Use your windows.
Without air-con or climate control, you can try opening the windows to let out the moist air as the heater evaporates the moisture from your windscreen. The cold air replacing it from outside will be drier than the air in your car, which should also help speed up the process.
Keeping your windows clean will help protect the glass from additional moisture. So, give them a polish, and see how much clearer your windows will stay through winter.