Rainproofing a windshield relies more on technique, frequency, and having good wiper blades than on any one glass rainproofing product in particular. Different products perform about the same by providing good hydrophobic beading and run-off, but the difference lies in how long they last, which has a direct impact on their cost.
McLaren is looking to adapt a system of using sound waves to replace the traditional windshield wiper on their future cars. This might impact how we clean windshields in the future, but for now, here are three steps to protect your windshield from the elements.
Invest in Good Wiper Blades
Manufacturers of windshield rainproofing products and car manufacturers, like Chrysler, are emphatic about the importance of replacing wiper blades frequently, as often as three to four times a year. Look for blades that deliver even pressure so they will make a clean sweep and not leave streaks where fail to make contact with the glass. Do not wait until the blade is disintegrating. No rainproofing product works alone, and good wiper blades can be lifesavers in downpours.
Products like Rain-X and Aquapel are highly recommended and reside at opposite ends of the cost spectrum. The biggest difference that consumers report online at DIY sites is Rain-X does not last very long due to wear from wiper blades. What makes one product last longer than another is the chemical and how it adheres to glass. Aquapel’s barrier is more resistant to wiper weardown, lasting six to eight months compared to four to six weeks with Rain-X. It costs about $80 in some markets compared to about $20 for Rain-X. Carnuba wax can also be applied for long-lasting waterproofing. A cut potato trick works for anti-fog but not the rainproofing effect. Do not use Rustoleum NeverWet on glass surfaces, as it leaves a frosted glass appearance.
It is important to make sure that the windshield is spotlessly clean and dry before applying a waterproofing product in order to guarantee adherence and performance. Rinse the glass, and clean it with an ammonia-based window cleaner and paper towel. Rinse thoroughly, making sure to wash off all of the ammonia. Dry with a microfiber towel. Apply the waterproofing product as directed. Most instructions say to apply using a circular motion, but one online commentator recommends using vertical or horizontal passes to avoid circle scratches, should a foreign particle become caught in your towel. Once the product dries, wipe or buff with a clean microfiber towel. When cured out of the elements for a few hours, rinse again and dry with a clean microfiber towel.
Between applications, clean with water only to avoid breaking the waterproof seal with chemical cleansers. If your product is applied correctly and maintained, bug splats and bird deposits should come right off the sealed glass with little effort. Regularly inspect the blades and applied product for wear.
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