You always need a clear, unobstructed view of the road when you are behind the wheel of your car. All-round visibility helps to keep you and others safe on the road. Therefore, keeping a windshield clean is an essential part of routine car care. During the winter months, it is even more important to carry out regular windshield detailing, particularly if the weather turns to snow and ice. Road salt and spray can quickly smear and contaminate your windshield. Low winter sun and a dirty windshield will also create significant visibility issues. However, careful windshield detailing prepares your car for winter driving and will ensure maximum visibility.
Rules and Tips for Successful Windshield Detailing
It is quick and convenient to simply flick on your windshield wipers when you’re on the road and need to keep your car window clean. This is why it is important to have a good supply of windshield wiper fluid. Additionally, your wipers may sometimes leave a residue of dirt and grime above and below the arc of the wiper blades. Add snow, ice, road spray and sun glare into the mix and it can get messy and potentially dangerous. Fortunately, deep clean windshield detailing will take care of these problems. We highlight some of the rules and tips to bear in mind for successful windshield detailing over the winter months.
Use an Ice Scraper to Gently Remove Frozen Debris From Glass
If you plan to clean a windshield on a wintery day, first start by carefully removing any snow, frost, frozen leaves, insects and any stubborn dirt deposits that are attached to the glass. Use a plastic scraper with a sharp edge that will gently dislodge and remove any frozen debris without scratching the windscreen.
If you live somewhere that sees a lot of snowfall, a 2-in-1 ice scraper and snow brush is a good idea. The brush quickly removes the soft snow while the scraper gets rid of solid frost and ice. If you drive a truck or SUV, look out for a snow removal tool with an extendable brush handle for better reach. Don’t forget your side windows and wing mirrors to ensure all round superior visibility.
Use a Clay Bar or Steam Cleaning for Iced-On Contaminants
Freezing winter temperatures can make it much harder to remove bugs, road salt and contaminants from the windshield. An ice scraper or a glass cleaner is not always enough to guarantee a pristine, polished finish. A good tip for windshield detailing in winter is to use a clay bar to lift any impurities off the glass. Better still, steam cleaning does a brilliant job at lifting dirt from windshields using only a minimum amount of water to achieve streak-free windows. However, before working with hot steam on your car windshield, read our next tip, below.
Warm Up The Windshield Before Steam Cleaning
Steam cleaning for windshield detailing is a great way to remove dirt and marks without leaving behind swirls and scratches on the glass. However, you need to know what you’re doing. The important rule to remember is never direct piping hot steam at a frozen windshield. Also, don’t be tempted to use boiling water from the kettle to clear your windshield. The abrupt change of temperature may cause cracks or chips in the glass.
The key tip is to always warm up the windshield first if you are windshield detailing during the cold winter months. Turn on the car heater for a few minutes and direct the heater blowers towards the windshield. Steam clean your car inside your garage for best results on colder days. If in doubt, ask the experts who have lots of experience when it comes to cold weather car care.
Use Recommended Microfiber Towels for Windshield Detailing in Winter
Another important rule when windshield detailing is to choose your cleaning and drying towels wisely if you want sparkling results. There are specific types of microfiber towels/cloths recommended for auto glass. It is important to source and use the correct type because some can leave behind lint while others with longer fibers may create streaks and smears.
A closed-loop glass polishing microfiber towel is a good choice. It might not be the fluffiest design but it will clean or dry a windshield without leaving behind any marks. Another tip is to color code your towels. Have separate, specific colored towels or cloths for washing, drying and polishing to avoid transferring soaps and wax onto your windshield when you car wash in winter.
Remove Deicer Residue or Water Marks with a Vinegar-Water Mix
If you use deicer to clear your windshield on wintery mornings, you may notice a few watermarks or some residue left behind on the glass. A handy tip is to mix a little white vinegar with equal parts distilled water to get the windshield spotlessly clean. Be careful not to get any of the solution (or the deicer) on your paintwork. To be on the safe side, dip a cloth into the vinegar solution and apply it directly onto the windshield instead of using a sprayer. You might also find our tips on how to remove Rain-X film from windshield useful. If the marks reappear, it could be that your wiper blades need replacing, see below.
Check for Wiper Blade Damage in Snow and Ice
Windshield wipers are more susceptible to damage during the winter months. Blades can freeze onto the windshield on cold and frosty mornings. Be gentle with them when you are windshield detailing. Don’t try to lift the blades when you want to clean the glass underneath until you are sure that the frost/ice has completely melted and they are not frozen to the windshield.
Important winter car maintenance tips include making sure your windshield wipers are in good condition. As a general rule, replace them every 12 months or when they are looking cracked or worn to ensure the highest quality performance. Worn wiper blades can leave streaks and marks.
Don’t Forget to Clean the Inside of the Windshield
Now that the outside of your windshield is gleaming, don’t forget to clean the inside of the glass where dirt, fingerprints and dust collect. Again, steam cleaning is ideal for this job. Not only does it achieve a smear-free finish, it is odor free. This is why steam is often a preference for drivers and passengers who don’t like the invasive smell of glass cleaner or other cleaning agents within the confines of their car.
One final tip, always do windshield detailing after you wash your car in winter. This allows you to clean off any soap run-off or wax and polish that may have been left behind on the windshield and windows.
Proper windshield detailing over the winter months is essential to ensure maximum visibility and to keep you, and others, safe on the road. The freezing temperatures and more difficult driving conditions mean windshield detailing needs to be prioritized. Bear in mind our rules and tips if you plan to take on the task. However, if you would like a little expert help, schedule an appointment with DetailXPerts. Our experienced technicians know the ins and outs of exterior detailing and, along with our innovative, eco-friendly steam-cleaning technology, they will make your vehicle shine like new, ensuring that you will be safer on the road.
Take a second to connect with DetailXPerts on Instagram. We publish lots of car content and tips and love to form a community with like-minded people who take pride and joy in whatever they drive.