Glaring Problems: Autumn Tips For Sparkling Windows
Dust, bug goo, road grime, sap, dog nose smudges, slobber–summer fun turns your vehicle windows into an autumn mess. The first rains smear contaminants across your view.
The goal is enhancing visibility, especially as the blanket of autumn descends on North America..
According to a recent report by the National Safety Council, traffic data from 2020 highlighted October as one of the most crash-prone months of the year. The report also confirmed October days between 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.as one of the most accident prone times.
Improve nighttime visibility
Issues noted by NSC included depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision compromised by dark hours. Glare of headlights from oncoming vehicles was identified as a problem causing temporary blindness for drivers.
How can you reduce glare and improve visibility as autumn darkness descends into traditional commute times?
The first step toward Improving visibility begins with removing window residue. Ammonia-based products tend to leave streaks, so experts recommend using glass cleaner intended for automobile surfaces.
Removing contaminants and caked-on bug residue from summer reduces smearing as well as friction with wipers blades. Professional detailers remove the thin film of haze accumulated on exterior and interior surfaces with auto glass cleaner and a microfiber towel.
Rain repellent treatments
Next, apply a windshield treatment on the exterior surface as a protective coating to keep dirt and water from adhering to the surface. Rain treatment products allow windshield wipers to sweep without causing streaks. Otherwise, the blades simply move contaminants across the windshield and compromise visibility.
Hydrophobic solutions create a coating on the windscreen that actually repels the water droplets causing them to bead up and get blown away as you drive. They also help prevent dirt and other contaminants from adhering to glass and simplify the job of cleaning windows.
Water repellent products can increase visual acuity by more than 34 percent, according to a 1997 study by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute. The study was performed under moderate to heavy rain conditions and also showed drivers improved response times by at least one second.
Nighttime driving also showed better results with the use of water repellent products. Drivers between the ages of 60 and 70 had the most significant improvement.
By repelling water and resisting dirt, bugs, and road grime, windshield treatments help to keep your view clear and safely see where you are going.The result: Improved safety and driver confidence when driving in the rain.
High humidity inside the cabin causes moisture to condense on windows. Anti-fog products spread moisture across the window pane and allow it to evaporate quickly. The process is exactly the opposite reaction to what occurs with products used on exterior glass surfaces.
Avoid car wax on windows
Waxes tend to leave surfaces very smeary and hard to see through. Windshield wipers usually cannot remove a wax smear; the job typically requires some elbow grease to take off the wax residue.
Polishing compounds in the wax can stick to the rubber surface and can interfere with wiper performance. White wax residue on rubber wiper surfaces must be removed before it causes hazing on glass surfaces.
Rain repellents and fog treatments do not harm glass surfaces. They may be applied as often as needed.
For traditional water repellent products. Once a month during the rainy season is suggested by experts. The newest category of water repellents—ceramic glass-coating repellent—offers months of protection.
Improve windshield visibility
- Remove streaks, debris, bug guts, and grime with glass cleaner designed for automobiles.
- Use an “ammonia-free” blend to prevent streaks and avoid damage to after-market tints. If your tint is sandwiched between two layers of glass then a cleaner with ammonia will be fine. However, if your tint clings to the inside of the window then ammonia will degrade the adhesive.
- Remove hard water spots from windows and other vehicle surfaces. The chemicals found in tap water can stain glass surfaces over time. Look for water spot removers designed for automobile glass surfaces.
- Use anti-rain products for exterior glass surfaces only. Interior requires an anti-fog product that can dissipate moisture and help it evaporate.
- Supplement your regular car-washing routine. Running your car through an automated wash or even hand-washing it yourself isn’t always enough–glass needs additional care. Don’t forget to clean inside the glass where a hazy-film tends to build up.
Pro windshield cleaning tips
- Apply window treatment products with a terry cloth or microfiber towel. Spray the towel rather than the surface and wipe it evenly across the glass. Remove excess fluid with a clean, dry cloth to eliminate haze.
- Use your car's climate control system to help reduce moisture, especially in climates with high humidity. The system will help the anti-fogging solution clear the glass surfaces faster.
- Avoid getting window treatment products on rubber surfaces since they contain alcohol and can cause rubber to dry or crack.
- For insect parts and goo, look for soaps and cleaners designed to remove bugs from vehicle surfaces. Get products intended for automobile surfaces.
- Avoid harsh solvents such as detergents, household cleaners and dish soap. They permanently damage paint and rubber surfaces.
- If you are using a sponge designed for vehicles, clean it frequently. Insect parts trapped in the netting acts like sandpaper and scratch vehicle surfaces. Gently wipe the surface and rinse the sponge frequently.
- Clean interior and exterior glass surfaces thoroughly before applying window treatment products. Interior glass surfaces often accumulate an oily residue that diminishes the effectiveness of anti-fog treatment.
- Use anti-rain products designed for exterior glass surfaces only. Interior requires an anti-fog product that can dissipate moisture and help it evaporate.
- Avoid getting window treatment products on rubber surfaces. They contain alcohol and can cause rubber to dry or crack.
- Fill the window washing tank with fluid or additives designed for bug removal.
- Use your vehicle’s climate control system to help reduce moisture, especially in climates with high humidity. The system will help the anti-fogging solution clear glass surfaces faster.
- Store a container of glass cleaning wipes in your vehicle for travel.
- Add a few microfiber towels to your travel kit. They help reduce streaking when cleaning windows and are effective at picking up contaminants.
- Add a can of de-icer and a squeegee to your winter road kit, especially if you live in colder climates.
- Consider using windshield wiper fluid that contains antifreeze. Note: Such products are not legal in all areas because they contain environmental contaminants.