Winter Windscreen Maintenance and Care
It isn’t even autumn yet, but now is a good time to start preparing your car for winter, particularly if you live in an area that sees frost or snow through the coldest periods of winter. Some things such as checking your tyres, coolant, anti-freeze, and even the battery might be familiar to you and already part of your winter preparedness checklist, but how often do you think about the maintenance and care of your windscreen ahead of and during winter? If you don’t, now would be a good time to look at the following:
Check Your Windscreen for Cracks and Chips
Ideally you should be having cracks and chips in your windscreen repaired as soon as you notice them, but ahead of winter it becomes especially important. Heavy dew, frost, and snow can cause water to penetrate cracks and chips in your windscreen, and when the temperature drops below freezing, this water will freeze and expand. This can cause cracks and chips to expand, weakening the integrity of your windscreen, and worsening your ability to see clearly when driving. The sooner you have chips and cracks checked by professional windscreen technicians, the greater the chance of them being repairable rather than requiring a new windscreen.
Check Your Windscreen Wipers
Windscreen wipers need to be replaced every one to two years, depending on how frequently you use them, and how harsh summers are. Don’t wait for them to start squeaking across your windscreen, or to not keep all areas of your windscreen clean before you replace them. Make a visual inspection of your windscreen wipers part of your routine whenever you have your car washed, and especially just before winter.
Replace Your Windscreen Washer Fluid
You can skip this step if winter in your region is quite moderate, but if temperatures regularly drop close to freezing – or lower – consider replacing your regular windscreen washer fluid with one designed to not freeze. That way if you do ever need to use washer fluid in winter, you don’t need to worry about it being frozen, or coming out as a slurry that ends up reducing visibility when driving.
Buy a Windscreen Cover
If you have no choice but to park your car out in the open overnight, covering your car or using an all-weather windscreen shield can keep your windscreen free of frost or make it easier to clear snow off your car. Extreme changes in temperature cause glass, including windscreen glass, to contract and expand, and this puts additional stress on your windscreen. Keeping frost and snow off your windscreen overnight not only means you get to drive sooner, but you also don’t need to be too concerned about cracks suddenly appearing in your windscreen.
Finally, when using your defroster or car ventilation system in winter, remember to increase the heat gradually for the same reason. A sudden, rapid rise in temperature could cause a freezing cold windscreen to crack, or even shatter in extreme cases.