The Importance of Protecting your Windscreen
We’re sure you know how important your windscreen is. As a key safety feature in your vehicle it is as important as the seatbelts and airbags. Here’s a reminder of the safety functions of a windscreen:
- The windscreen can provide structural integrity in the event of a roll-over accident.
- The windscreen works alongside the seat belts to ensure you stay inside your vehicle in the event of a collision.
- The windscreen helps to protect you from objects that may try to enter your vehicle.
By following the information below and protecting your windscreen, you are making sure that one of your car’s critical safety elements remains at its best, so that it can work to protect your car’s precious cargo.
What are windscreens made of?
We all know that windscreens are made of glass. In fact, they are made of heavy duty glass which does make them more durable than standard glass, however they are still glass and can get damaged or broken.
The specialness of windscreen glass is actually in the way it is constructed. Windscreen glass is made up of 2 pieces of heavy duty glass that are secured together with a sheet of thin laminate film placed between them. This film can help to hold the glass together when it is damaged and prevents the glass from breaking into sharp fragments that could hurt the driver or passenger in the vehicle.
You may have seen a shattered windscreen that is still in place, it is the laminate film that is holding the piece of glass together. If the windscreen receives enough force or pressure to completely break it, the tiny pieces are usually nothing more than a nuisance, with no dangerous, sharp edges.
As your windscreen is an important part of the safety of your vehicle, and it can be costly to replace, it makes sense for you to try and keep it in top condition. See below for the best ways of maintaining and protecting your windscreen’s integrity so it can do its job of protecting you.
Protecting your windscreen.
Now you know how important your windscreen is, and how it’s constructed, it’s time to outline the best ways of protecting your windscreen.
Check your windscreen wipers
Wipers are a safety feature closely linked to your windscreen. They push water off the windscreen so you can see the road better. As wipers age, they become less effective at this job which also makes them a less effective safety feature. Another aspect of this is that an old windscreen wiper can increase the risk of damage to your windscreen. As part of the wiper wears down the metal part could be exposed and may scratch the windscreen. These scratches may not always be visible to the naked eye but can cause irreparable damage over time. A worn wiper arm may cause the wipers to lift off of the windscreen at intervals during the wipe process. This could cause debris to become trapped under the wiper, potentially damaging the windscreen. Check your wipers regularly and replace them as soon as you notice any signs of wear and tear.
Keep an eye on the temperature
Changes in temperature cause glass to expand and contract, windscreen glass is no different. If your car is parked outside on a frosty night and the windscreen has a layer of ice on it, remember not to use hot water to melt the ice. This quick and extreme change in temperature is likely to cause your windscreen to crack – which probably means a replacement! On hot, sunny days, try to park in the shade where possible and be mindful that blowing cold air from the AC straight onto the hot windscreen may not be the best idea. Allow the windscreen to cool down slowly. Try to minimise any extreme temperature changes for your windscreen, to prevent cracking.
Avoid harsh chemicals
When washing your car, only use cleaners that are approved for the purpose. Some household cleaners contain ammonia which can be very damaging to vinyl and glass, and could remove the protective coating on your windscreen. Always use cleaners that are approved for windscreen glass.
Drive carefully – especially on gravel roads
The best advice here is to slow down. Driving at higher speeds on gravel roads make the chances of stone pieces being flung around much higher, and these could hit your windscreen causing damage. It is also important to maintain a safe distance from the car in front, as gravel can get caught in the tyres of cars and fly out randomly. Keep your speed down and maintain safe distances from the car in front.
Repair chips immediately
The smaller the chip, the easier -and cheaper it is to repair. Ignoring a chip will most likely result in the chip growing in size which reduces the integrity of your windscreen and could lead to cracking around the chip. Most small chips are repairable. See our blog post that outlines types of windscreen chips or cracks and if they are repairable. Always get a chip looked at by a professional, as soon as you notice it.
Try not to slam the car doors
Every time you slam the car door, shock waves are sent through the vehicle’s glass which could weaken it. The effects can be cumulative, with no visible damage on the first, second or even fifth door slam – but over time the forces will reduce the integrity of the glass and may cause it to shatter. Close car doors gently to prevent damage to windows from shock waves.
If you follow all of the advice around protecting your windscreen, it is likely your windscreen will continue to protect you for many years. When the time comes to repair a chip or crack remember that Fast Autoglass offer guaranteed workmanship on all auto glass repairs and replacements in Christchurch and Canterbury. We offer a high quality, fast and efficient service and have expertise in a range of auto glass solutions. We have a workshop that is centrally located in Christchurch and also offer a convenient mobile service. Contact us for all your auto glass repair needs.