The winter brings cold weather, ice, and snow, which can harm your windshield. During the winter, it’s best to keep your vehicle in the garage or under a canopy, but if you can’t, you need to know the proper way to care for your windshield during the winter. To better protect your finances, check out these three winter mistakes that can damage your windshield.
1. Removing Ice With the Wrong Tools
If the windshield has ice, snow, or frost on it, you should use an ice scraper to remove any debris before you drive anywhere. Of course, using your wiper blades to remove the ice can be tempting, especially if there isn’t much buildup. However, even a little bit of ice can damage your wipers. Plus, removing ice with wipers isn’t as effective as removing ice with a scraper, so you ruin your wipers for no reason.
Other drivers may prefer de-icing sprays to help naturally melt the snow or ice, but make sure you only use approved sprays for vehicle windshields to prevent damage. Alternatively, brushes (made for windshields) are an excellent tool for removing snow.
Finally, some car owners try to use “scraper-like” items, such as a shovel to remove snow or ice. Unfortunately, using harsh tools like shovels can scratch the windshield. A scratched windshield may affect your vision and the integrity of the windshield.
2. Using Water to Melt Ice
Hot water quickly melts ice, but using hot water on your car’s windshield is a terrible idea. In fact, using hot water on any icy window should be avoided. Most materials shrink when exposed to cold and expand when exposed to heat, including glass. While materials like wood and vinyl are better equipped to withstand the stress of this process, glass is more vulnerable.
Normally, your windshield is strong enough to withstand the gradual temperature changes, but pouring hot water onto a frozen windshield creates a sudden temperature change, which may put too much stress on the glass, causing it to break.
Using lukewarm water isn’t a better idea either. While it probably won’t cause your windshield to shatter, the water can freeze, worsening the problem. As a result, you’ll have to wait longer for your windshield to defrost, or your windshield may start to freeze again after you’ve started driving.
3. Not Replacing Damaged Wipers
If your wipers do get damaged because of ice, you need to replace them as soon as possible. Damaged wipers can lead to minor or major issues. At first, you may only notice reduced effectiveness whenever you use your wipers. They may skip, streak, split, or squeak, which impacts the visibility through the windshield by creating blurry spots.
Wipers are made of soft plastic so they can’t damage windshields, but the underlying plastic is hard. Worn and damaged wipers expose this hard plastic, and when you use your wipers, the hard plastic can cause scratches, to further worsen visibility. Unlike the water streaks, these scratches won’t go away when you replace the wiper blades.
On average, you should replace your wiper blades every six months or each year. Of course, if you notice any signs, such as a broken frame, corrosion, cracks, etc. replace them immediately.
Ice and snow alone aren’t great for your car or windshield, but removing ice incorrectly is detrimental. Never use your wipers to remove ice or snow, as it can cause major damage, and hot water may lead to a shattered windshield. If you would like a quote or to know more about windshield maintenance, repair, or replacement, contact us at Aaron Auto Glass today.