When you think about some of the most important automotive inventions in history, chances are you may think of innovations like airbags, anti-lock brakes or hybrid and electric engines. But did you know that cars didn’t always have windshields? It’s true! Even after being invented in 1904, windshields weren’t a standard feature available, leaving most drivers to wear goggles to protect them from flying debris out on the roads.
In fact, it wasn’t until the 1970s and the forming of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that we got many of the modern innovations found in windshields today. Since then, they’ve evolved to become the critical safety feature we know and love—allowing millions of Americans to drive with confidence every day.
Just as with every vital component of your vehicle, it’s essential to keep your windshield in the very best condition possible, especially with winter weather already here.
6 Tips for Looking After Your Vehicle’s Windshield
Ensuring your windshield is free of any cracks, chips or damages is crucial for not only your safety but can help save you money. While vehicle service contracts (more commonly known as extended warranties) provide you with comprehensive breakdown coverage for components like engines, transmissions and more, your car’s windshield will never be included. Instead, you can often find protection for your windshield in most insurance policies, but they will only repair windshield damage caused by an accident, theft, or inclement weather.
To help keep your car’s windshield free of any potential (and costly) issues, be sure to follow these 6 simple tips:
1. Keep It Clean
Believe it or not, but one of the simplest ways to maintain your windshield is by getting regular car washes. Not only can keeping your windshield clean give you better visibility in conditions like rain, sleet or snow, it also makes it easier for you to spot any minor chips or cracks before they can get worse. So the next time you find yourself getting a car wash, or if you’re just quickly cleaning out your interior, be on the lookout for any damages that can potentially lead to more costly repairs sooner rather than later.
2. Act Quickly
If you do notice a crack or chip in any of your car’s glass, have it seen by an auto glass professional as soon as possible. Small cracks are usually easy to repair and relatively inexpensive, but if you leave them to get worse, you may need to replace your entire windshield, which could cost you as much as $1,500 or more! To try and prevent damages, you can also purchase various automotive accessories, such as windshield protection film. Accessories like these can help give you even more defense against rock chips, hail, falling branches or any other potential types of debris.
3. Inspect Your Windshield Wipers
Along with allowing you to physically check your windshield, washing your car can also give you a chance to inspect your wiper blades. Not only are damaged wipers no help in the rain, but they can also scratch and eventually chip the glass if you aren’t careful. Some wipers, such as specially designed winter wiper blades, can even help you remove excess snow or ice during the wintertime and are cheap and easy to replace.
4. Avoid Extreme Temperature Changes
Seasons such as the middle of summer or the wintertime can be a severe hazard to already cracked or chipped windshields. Temperature changes cause your windshield’s glass to contract and expand just as it does to your tire pressure (PSI). But, while modern automotive glass is designed to handle regular changes in temperature, extreme changes can be an issue, causing the potential for damages. This is especially common in the winter months or spring, when temperatures can change drastically from day to day. Some car owners will also try to use hot or boiling water to de-ice their vehicles. When you do this, the extreme change in temperature could “shock” your windshield, causing cracks, chips, or even shattering it, so it’s best to let your windshield defrost using your car’s heating functions.
5. Avoid Slamming Doors
Just like extreme temperatures, harsh and extreme vibrations can also damage glass. Close your car door too hard, and not only can your side windows come loose, but minor nicks or chips in your windshield can also potentially become full-blown cracks. So while it might not be the first thing that comes to mind, closing doors gently is an integral part of car care.
6. Don’t DIY It
While there are many DIY maintenance tasks you can and should do for your vehicle, windshield repair is best left to the professionals. So even though it can be tempting to pick up a DIY repair kit, failing to fix or fill a chip correctly can quickly turn it into a crack. Instead, visiting an auto glass professional, such as Safelite can help you ensure your windshield is repaired without the risk of further damages.
How to Look After Your Windshield in Winter
If there’s a time of year your windshield is most important, it’s winter. Not only does it help you see through the most treacherous kinds of weather, but it also helps keep you warm and dry regardless of the weather outside.
To help you maintain your windshield this or any winter, be sure to::
1. Keep a Winter Emergency Kit Handy
While you may not always have an emergency, having a winter emergency kit is essential if you’re driving in any winter weather. Your kit should always include extra clothes or blankets, clean water, snacks and a first aid kit. It’s also good to make sure you also have items such as gloves and an ice scraper on hand as well, as these can help you keep your windshield free of snow or ice whenever needed.
2. Warm Your Windshield up Gently
As mentioned before, it can be tempting to defrost your windshield using boiling water when you’re in a rush to get to work, but whatever you do, don’t give in to that temptation. Like we said earlier, extremes in temperature can be bad news for windshields, so open up your updated emergency kit and use your ice scraper and gloves to help get rid of the bulk of the ice and snow as you let your car’s defroster do the rest.
3. Use Freeze-Resistant Wiper Fluid
Just like antifreeze helps stop your engine from freezing, freeze-resistant wiper fluid is also a great thing to have during the winter. Not only can it help keep your windshield free of any excess build-ups of ice, but it can also help to keep the washer fluid from freezing in the fluid lines, helping you save on potentially costly repairs bills.
4. Keep Your Windshield Wipers Down
There are a number of common car care myths that have been passed on over the years. One of the most prevalent, especially in the winter, is that you should leave your windshield wipers up before it snows. But while this timeless method can provide some potential benefits, leaving the wipers down may be the best option for you. Yes, you may have to spend a bit longer de-icing them, but you’ll be much less likely to incur the costs of wiper blade or windshield damage, as heavy snowfall or other debris could cause them to bend or snap. Instead, use items such as a de-icer, an ice scraper and your car’s defrost function to unstick any frozen over wiper blades.
Protect Your Vehicle with Endurance
Just as you need to ensure your windshield is free of any damages or issues, it’s also vital to stay up-to-date on all the rest of your car’s maintenance needs. With an EnduranceAdvantage™ auto protection plan, you can rest easy knowing you’re covered from the out-of-pocket cost of unexpected breakdowns and other repairs not covered by your auto insurance policy. You can also save when it comes to your car’s essential maintenance needs with up to $3,500 worth of regular maintenance coverages, including services such as up to three oil and filter changes, tire rotations, and much more included — at no additional cost to you. On top of that, you can also get even more peace of mind with 24/7 roadside assistance which comes standard with the purchase of an EnduranceAdvantage or any other Endurance protection plan.
Every new or existing Endurance customer can also get access to a year’s worth of Elite Benefits with the purchase of ANY Endurance plan and a small activation fee. That means you can get extra perks such as key fob replacements, collision discounts and even up to two tire repairs or replacements, giving you even more coverage and savings.
To get started on learning how an Endurance protection plan can help you and your vehicle, give us a call directly at 866-918-1438 or you can request a free quote. You can also visit our Learning Center to discover even more informative and helpful articles on a variety of automotive topics, such as expert auto topics, vehicle buying guides and more.